LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A 17-year-old is on life support and likely brain dead following a near-drowning accident at a public pool.
The incident happened at 4:10 p.m. Wednesday at Jesse Owens County Park in the 9800 block of South Western Avenue while four lifeguards were on duty, according to Katherine Main of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
Anandre Thomas was not breathing and had no pulse when he was rescued by lifeguards, who called for help and started CPR.
The victim’s family says he was underwater for more than five minutes before the lifeguards attempted a rescue.
KCAL9’s Brittney Hopper spoke to the victim’s sister, Ceritha Daily.
“My heart is broken because I don’t feel as though he deserved it,” Daily said.
She believes if just one of the four lifeguards on duty had seen her brother in distress, the outcome would have been different.
Daily said she watched her brother jump into the pool he’s been swimming in for years before turning to watch her other brother jump off a diving board. Five minutes passed before she noticed that Anandre was at the bottom of the pool.
“After he was down there for so long. After we pulled him up, we administered CPR. They called 911,” she said.
The family said that officials have ruled out that Thomas hit his head under water.
“No adult or child should be under the water for five minutes or more or less…with lifeguards present. To me, this is more than enough proof that somebody wasn’t doing their job,” Anandre’s uncle, Tremon Thomas, said.
The Parks Department made the following statement:
“We are saddened to learn of the young man’s condition, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”
Family members said Thomas had just graduated from high school and was headed to UNLV this fall.
The family says they plan to take legal action.