Authorities ID boy who died at Cloquet pondThe 6-year-old Duluth boy who died Thursday in Cloquet’s sand-bottom pond has been identified.
By: Lisa Baumann, Duluth News Tribune, Pine Journal
The 6-year-old Duluth boy who died Thursday in Cloquet’s sand-bottom pond has been identified.
Wyatt A. Hanna reportedly had been at the Pinehurst Park pond on a field trip with about 30 children and four chaperones. He had a faint pulse when he was found in the water by lifeguards shortly before 1:30 p.m. The lifeguards took the boy out of the water on a backboard and were performing CPR when emergency personnel arrived. They transported Hanna to Community Memorial Hospital in Cloquet, where he later died.
Police said Friday the drowning was accidental.
Brian Fritsinger, Cloquet city administrator, said the facility was designed to hold 500 to 600 people, and about 250 people were at the beach at the time, with four lifeguards on duty.
Fritsinger said Friday this was the first drowning at Cloquet’s swimming pond.
“To the best of our knowledge, there have not been any safety issues,” Fritsinger said. “As designed, the (Cloquet) pond itself should be as safe as any swimming pool.”
Fritsinger said there hasn’t been a death at any of the other 10-12 similar sand-bottom ponds operating across the state. The Pinehurst Park swim pond was constructed in the mid-1970s as one of a small group of federally funded sand-bottom swim ponds across Minnesota.
Sam Rauschenfels, who grew up one block from the pond, said he was surprised when his mother told him the news.
“Before I got my (driver’s) license, I’d just walk down there with my friends because it was cheap and we always had fun,” he said. “I actually remember the lifeguards there being more proactive than anywhere else and even thought they were a little overbearing.”
Cloquet Community Education officials, who run the pond, are providing counseling to lifeguards over the weekend.
“We’re going to be working with lifeguards over the next couple days to help them get through any emotional challenges that might be happening,” Fritsinger said.
He also said it’s his understanding that the lifeguards followed procedures properly when they found the boy in the water.
“Paramedics said they were ‘textbook’ when it came to handling the situation,” he said.
The entire staff at the facility will also start a process to review the policies, protocols and procedures to see if there is anything that needs to be changed.
The pond will be closed through Sunday.
The city of Cloquet closed the pond several years ago to complete a major renovation and modernization of the pond. It reopened in July 2009.