Police: 911 not called in near-drowning until child brought to hospital hours later

Best Western, 6815 W. Kellogg Drive
Best Western, 6815 W. Kellogg Drive The Wichita Eagle

Authorities are investigating a near-drowning this weekend in which no one called 911 until after the revived child had been brought to the hospital hours after the incident.

Doctors called 911 shortly after 6 p.m. on Saturday to report that a 5-year-old girl had been brought to the hospital by a parent, Wichita police Lt. Steve Kenney said. The mother told the officers who came to the hospital that her daughter had gone to a swimming party at the Best Western at 6815 W. Kellogg.

The parents later received a phone call from the two women watching three girls at the party. They said the child “had almost drowned and they needed to come pick up the child,” Kenney said.

They learned the 5-year-old had jumped into the deep end of the pool and then sank to the bottom, Kenney said. The other two girls, ages 10 and 9, noticed the younger child at the bottom of the pool.

“The child was unconscious and unresponsive at the bottom of the pool,” Kenney said.

They pulled her up from the bottom of the pool and got her out of the water, Kenney said. The two adults “administered life-saving measures, which were successful,” he said.

The parents of the child who nearly drowned did not immediately take her to the hospital, though she was eventually brought to Via Christi Hospital St. Joseph. The child was admitted for treatment, Via Christi spokeswoman Maria Loving said, but has since been released.

911 “was never contacted prior to the hospital calling,” Kenney said.

The two adults watching the children at the pool were a 44-year-old woman and a 74-year-old woman not related to the near-drowning victim, he said. It’s unclear whether they had briefly left the area or simply looked away from the water for a short time, he said.

The Exploited and Missing Child Unit is investigating the incident. Among the elements they’re looking into, Kenney said, is why “several hours” passed between when the near-drowning occurred and when the child was brought to a hospital.

The near-drowning occurred between 3 and 4 p.m. and was not reported until after 6 p.m., he said.

With warmer weather approaching and the pool parties that come with it, Kenney said the close call over the weekend is a reminder for chaperones to keep a close eye on those in the water – and for parents to make sure their children can safely participate in the activities planned at those parties.

Stan Finger: 316-268-6437, @StanFinger