Girl in critical condition after pool accident at YMCA

September 11, 1997


Staff Writer

A 7-year-old girl was rushed to the hospital after she nearly drowned in a swimming pool at the YMCA in Hagerstown Thursday afternoon, Hagerstown City Police said.

The girl, whose name was withheld by police, was in critical condition at Washington County Hospital before she was transferred to Johns Hopkins Medical Center.

According to police, the girl was part of a Girls Inc. group that was swimming at the pool Thursday afternoon. Initially, the group was divided between the large and small pools based on swimming ability, police said.


But at about 4:45 p.m., another group came in to use the smaller pool, so the Girls Inc. children were moved to the large pool, police said.

Chaperones were placing flotation devices on the children when the victim apparently slipped by unnoticed, police said. A lifeguard discovered the girl under 4 to 8 feet of water and jumped in to save her, police said.

The girl was removed from the pool and two lifeguards began resuscitation efforts.

Michael Flicek, executive director of the YMCA, said the pool was closed following the accident and all of the evening's lessons were canceled.

"Our concern is for the young girl," Flicek said.

The sight of ambulances and police cruisers descending on the YMCA building on North Potomac Street sent nearby parents into a near-panic.

"I thought, it could have been mine. This is tragic," said Central Avenue resident John Miller, who was relieved to learn his 10-year-old daughter was safe.

"My little girl was swimming," he said. "We went through every red light in town."

Immediately following the accident, members of the police department's victim-witness unit spoke to the children and Girls Inc. staff members. Several adults choked back tears.

Representatives of the Washington County Board of Education Crisis Intervention Team will assist with the needs of the other children when they return to school this morning, authorities said.

Flicek said he cannot remember another serious pool accident in the two years he has been executive director of the YMCA.

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