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Six-year-old Hagerstown boy who drowned in Shenandoah was Salem Avenue Elementary student

Age, "some panic" might have been factors in death

Age, "some panic" might have been factors in death

June 10, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. -- A 6-year-old Hagerstown boy who drowned over the weekend probably was not a strong swimmer, a state Division of Natural Resources official said Monday.

Dustin Anthony Taylor, who was with his mother and two other people, was swimming Sunday afternoon at a public access area on the Shenandoah River near Shannondale in Jefferson County, W.Va., when he slipped into a deeper section of the river, according to conservation officer Ken White.

The boy, who was a student at Salem Avenue Elementary School, was wading on some rocks when he went underwater for about four minutes, White said.

One man tried to find the boy in the water, but became exhausted, according to a witness. Another man went in the water and found the boy, the witness said.

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White initially said the boy was from Ranson, W.Va. However, on Tuesday, he said he later found out that the boy and his mother were from Hagerstown.

White said Monday he was not sure what caused the boy to go underwater, but that his age might have been a factor.

"And I imagine some panic" also contributed, White said Monday morning.

Dispatchers were called about the accident at 4:38 p.m. and the boy was taken to Jefferson Memorial Hospital.

The victim was flown to Children's' National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where he died about 11 p.m. Sunday, White said.

An autopsy performed by the Washington, D.C., Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined that the boy drowned, a spokeswoman for that office said Monday afternoon.

People in canoes and innertubes on the river at the time of the accident described coming onto the scene and witnessing confusion. Someone was yelling for help and people were speaking Spanish, witnesses said.

Someone volunteered the use of their kayak to bring the boy to shore, witnesses said.

Two men who were fishing in the area performed CPR on the boy before White carried the unconscious youth to an ambulance.

The public access area where the accident occurred is just beyond Gate 1 to Shannondale. It is a popular spot for people to fish, boat and cool off in the summer, White said.

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