Pool accident hospitalizes 18-year-old


An 18-year-old man was in critical condition at Johns Hopkins Hospital yesterday after a lifeguard pulled his unconscious body from one of the public swimming pools at Patterson Park.

The man, whose name was not released because his family could not be reached, apparently hit his head on the side of the pool as he dove into the deepest of the park's two pools at 2:39 p.m., city parks officials said.

Witnesses said about a dozen people were in the pool, known as the Tank.

"It was crazy, everyone was hollering," said Janet Arce, 27, who was sitting on a nearby bench when the young man was pulled from the 10-foot-deep water. "It seemed the lifeguards didn't know what to do. It was five or six minutes before anyone jumped in to get him out."

According to city Department of Recreation and Parks officials, seven lifeguards were on duty when the incident occurred.

"All of them are seasoned veterans," said Portia E. Harris, acting director of the city's aquatics division. "We have witnesses who said a minute passed between the time the young man dove into the water and when he resurfaced."

Harris said each of the lifeguards on duty yesterday had completed 33 hours of training with the American Red Cross and a city pool safety program before they were hired.

About 75 people were at Patterson Park's two pools when the incident occurred. They were ordered to leave as police officers investigated and took photographs of the area. The pool was closed for about three hours.

As paramedics raced to the scene, the lifeguard who pulled the teen-ager out of the water began cardiopulmonary resuscitation, according to police Sgt. Al Denis, who was one of the first officers on the scene.

Baltimore has 21 public swimming pools. The last drowning occurred a year ago, also at Patterson Park in East Baltimore. Canvas Goods, 15, of the 2900 block of E. Baltimore St., drowned in the Tank about 7 p.m. June 14. The pool was closed at the time.

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