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A recently-released police report on what exactly happened the day an Española boy nearly drowned at Barranca Mesa Pool June 4 revealed quick action, as well as sheer panic.
Police describe arriving at the pool, located next to Barranca Mesa Elementary, and seeing paramedics trying to resuscitate the boy, who was lying on the patio between a slide and a basketball hoop. The boy was later identified as 5-year-old Joshua Sanchez.
According to the lifeguard on duty, who police described as “very emotional… shaking and a broken voice,” the incident happened soon after Sanchez and the group he was with entered the pool. At the time, according to the police report which was released Friday, there were 20 people in the pool, which included two adults. The accident happened in the three-foot area of the pool, where Sanchez was playing with a group of eight to 10 other children.
According to the report, the lifeguard was doing a visual, safety scan when he noticed something was wrong at approximately the same time one of the adult chaperones of the group did.
The pool is owned by a private company called the “Barranca Mesa Pool Association.” Police indicated in the report association officials admit people to the pool only if they have a membership card or a guest pass. Pool officials told police they keep no written records of who’s in the pool at any time.
Police said Sanchez was part of a class from Los Alamos Gymnastics and they were having a “team party.” It was one of the children in the pool with Sanchez that first noticed something was wrong.
“(A witness) heard one of the gym students yell that the victim had been face down ‘for a few minutes’,” said a statement in the report. One of the adults with the gymnastics team who wasn’t in the pool then pulled Sanchez out of the pool and she and the lifeguards immediately tried to resuscitate him through cardio pulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, with the aid of an off-duty nurse from the Los Alamos Medical Center. Witnesses reported Sanchez was “foaming at the mouth” when he was pulled from the water.
Just before he was rescued, multiple witnesses told police they remember seeing the boy face down in the water moments before lifeguards and adults pulled him from the water.
At the time, Sanchez had no pulse, was not breathing, and was not responsive. A witness told police at the scene she “had to pump the boy’s stomach because when they were doing CPR, water kept coming from the boy’s mouth.”
Another witness stated while he was at the top of the slide, he noticed Sanchez at the foot of the slide, face down. When the witnesses yelled to Sanchez to move, he noticed Sanchez didn’t respond. “(The witness) stated Sanchez eventually floated away and the witness was able to go down the slide. By the time the witness was in the water, lifeguards were pulling Sanchez out of the pool.
Another witness said he saw Sanchez on floating on his back “making unusual movements.” When the witness called out to him to move, Sanchez appeared not to hear. The witness assumed it was probably because Sanchez’ ears were underwater. By the time the witness reached the bottom of the slide, Sanchez went from floating on his back face up to floating on his front, face down.
Sanchez was then rushed to the University of New Mexico Children’s Hospital where he, according to emergency officials, made a complete recovery. According to an email from Monique Sanchez, the family spokesperson throughout the ordeal, “The family won’t be speaking to the press,” about the incident.