Authorities investigating after 7-year-old boy drowns in recreation center pool

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COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah — A 7-year-old boy drowned Sunday afternoon at the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center.

Officials on scene told FOX 13 News the incident began around 2:30 p.m.

Between 300 and 500 people were at the pool at the time.

The 7-year-old child, Sacir Mehanovic, was at the recreation center with family.

He was pulled from the middle of the pool which ranges from 6 feet to 12 feet deep.

Witnesses had conflicting reports regarding whether the boy jumped in or fell.

Sgt. Corbett Ford of the Cottonwood Heights Police Department said the lifeguards did a “great job” in doing what they were trained to do and he said they worked diligently to save the boy.

"There were two nurses that were off duty from emergency rooms that were able to assist the lifeguards and said they did a fantastic job, they did everything they were supposed to do with their protocols," Ford said.

There were 18 lifeguards on duty at the time.

Most of them are high school and college students, who train rigorously throughout the year, specifically for these very emergencies.

"This is tragic, nobody feels worse than the lifeguards that were on duty," Mike Peterson said, director of the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center. "I met with most of them, they are traumatized, they are concerned, they are worried."

The boy was rushed to the hospital where he later died.

"Our hearts go out to the family, no one deserves to go through this, this young family who lost a child doesn't deserve to go through it, these guards that had to witness it shouldn't have to go through it," Peterson said. "It's just a horrible situation and we pride ourselves in doing all we can to never have it happen and now we need to deal with it. That's the most important thing. How we move on from now."

Witnesses told FOX 13 News they were concerned about the length of time it took officials to respond.

Officials with the Cottonwood Heights Police Department said police units responded in about two and a half minutes but they couldn't comment on the EMT response time.

27 comments

  • Robert Kelley

    My Big Question Is
    Where Was His Parents ? and Why Weren’t They Watching Him ? you just can’t let your kids go swimming by themselves without supervision from his parents.

    • Stupid People

      This. Where in the world were the parents? Sure there are lifeguards, but as parents you are responsible for your child’s welfare. And if you have taken them to a public pool that means watching them 100% of the time, particularly if they are not a strong swimmer. What is wrong with people?

      One more preventable death just happened, and people are going to be feeling all sorry for the parents rather than holding them accountable for their negligence that just cost their child his life.

      • Pedro

        I’m sure you never take your eyes off your kids. Tragic accidents can happen in a matter of minutes. You do not know the circumstances. Nice of you to imply the parents are (stupid people) after they have suffered such a huge loss.

  • Brittany

    love and prayers to the family who lost a son, brother, friend…to the lifeguard and staff, you are heroes. thinking and praying for you all.

  • Carmen Price

    Could have, would have, should have. Please be respectful with your words. Their child is gone and there is nothing they can do to bring him back. Don’t you think they are beating themselves up over this and will have to live with it for the rest of their lives? Prayers to this family on the loss of their little boy for comfort, peace and understanding. Your little angel is with God now where no harm can come to him anymore.

    • Stupid People

      Really?
      The problem with people is that they have no accountability for their own choices. This little boy lost his life because his parents couldn’t be bothered to watch him and you want to talk about how sad it is for them and angels and gawd?
      This CHILD was deprived of a life. He was the victim of negligence, and he deserves more from society than his parents being felt sorry for.
      Certainly, he didn’t take himself to the pool and put himself in danger of drowning.
      This is negligence, pure and simple. This is not ‘an accident.’ Things either happen because we MAKE them happen or LET them happen – they don’t happen all by themselves.
      It’s sad that these parents have lost a child, but it is the CHILD who was deprived of his continued existence through their negligence, not them. They may feel bad, but they get to continue living. If it had been THEM in the deep end of the pool, they certainly wouldn’t have neglected themselves, but they couldn’t be bothered to care for their own child?
      If a stranger negligently kills a child, it is called negligent homicide. If a parent does it, it’s called an accident.
      What tripe.
      Children are supposed to be PROTECTED by their parents, not endangered and neglected.
      Or do you presume that this SEVEN YEAR OLD should have been responsible for himself?
      Oh, wait – I’m dealing with someone who believes that this is all part of gawd’s plan, rather than believing that people should take personal responsibility for themselves and their actions.
      No wonder the level of stupid up in here is overwhelming.
      Com

      • Pudgy Kid From South Park

        You are a real piece of work, you know that? You know nothing about the circumstances, but you’re willing to be judge, jury and executioner.

        Typical internet warrior.

  • Precillia

    I was there. The father was ten feet from his son. How can you comment so negatively on a situation where you were not there. I have a 10 year girl who knows how to swim and a 13 year girl again knows how to swim. We watch them but there were two different occasions where we lost sight of them. It wasn’t like he was out in the parking lot or even away from his son. He was literally 10 feet from his son. He screamed “Take me instead” that father is already beating himself up. He doesn’t need people like you making comments like that when you weren’t even there. My heart goes out to that poor family. That could have happened to any of us. Also to the stupid woman on KSL saying the life guards were just standing around talking, yes another swimmer pointed him out. However that life guard was not talking to anyone he was up on his stand and did everything he could for the little boy. A 7 ear old child lost his life today and all you people can do is place blame. Pathetic! Let his family grieve and mourn in piece.

  • Carmen Price

    To reply to your post, Stupid People. You weren’t there, I wasn’t there. You don’t know what happened. Accidents happen. This was a huge accident, the life of a child…. their child. Things happen in a blink of an eye, especially in a crowded pool. Maybe instead of calling everyone stupid, you should stop and think before you talk. These grieving parents must be going out of their minds wishing they could take back those few minutes. Don’t you think they would do it differently if they had a chance to go back. So, what would you do to punish these folks, put them in prison? Don’t you think they are going to be living in prison for the rest of their lives wondering how they could have allowed this to happen? What is wrong with folks like you? It sickens me, as a mom who is totally overprotective with my kids, that people like you think they have a right to be Judge, Jury and Executioner. Bad things happen to good people every day. This is life. You saying mean and hateful things isn’t going to change the situation.

    • Stupid People

      The fear of being criminally prosecuted for neglecting their children may make parents more attentive and save other children from losing their lives in a senseless manner. If the pool is too crowded for you to safely watch your child, you use common sense and don’t allow them to play there. Do you really have to be told these things? Is socialization really more important than safety? I’m sure that the parents are devastated, as they should be. Do you think that they SHOULDN’T feel responsible? That pretending that this was an accident rather than negligence can somehow make the situation BETTER? Perhaps if these parents TAKE responsibility for the NEGLIGENCE that cost a child his life, it will save the life of another child in the future. Rather than pretending nothing was done wrong, face reality and try to spare someone else the same horror.

      The real problem with this world is that rational beings would rather play make-believe than deal with reality.

      • Pedja

        Right, use this TRAGEDY and turn it into negligence. Burn the parents as much as you can so they may serve as an example of what awaits others who allow this to happen to their child, because losing a child is not punishment enough. No, the fear of prison sentence is what’s going to ‘smarten-up’ parents, right? We need to inject as much fear into young parents’ bones, so they will think twice before they even leave their home with their child, let alone go to a swimming pool!

        The real problem in this world is the lack of empathy and compassion, not that BS you wrote!

  • Winn1

    My brother was there today and he said the EMT did not show up for at least 20 minutes and when they did they weren’t even rushing. The crowd was yelling at them to run! It’s absolutely tragic. There is a fire station literally across the street. This is so sad. They had to pin his father down to keep him from uncontrollably shaking his son to life. 300 + people walked out there weeping having to explain to their own children what they just witnessed.

    • Winn1

      In many child drownings, adults are nearby but have no idea the victim is dying. Please read the article Drowning doesn’t look like drowning. Slate.com or just google it.

  • Kelley

    I was there as well, there was nothing more devestating than listening to that father scream for his childs life. I fully believe the lifeguards did everything they could, but i do think that they will all see that this isnt just a BS job anymore. I remember being a young teenager and wanting to be a lifeguard to hang out at the pool all day. My husband and son were over in the pool near where this happened and my husband commented on seeing one of the lifeguards just talking to a group of like 3 girls and he thought it was odd.. and then this happened. I dont think its fair at all for anyone to put blame on anyone. The lifeguards im sure are tramatized and i cant even begin to think of what those poor parents are going thru. This is a tragedy, and there is nothing worse than being in the prescence of an indicent like this where someone lost their life. It was surreal just as a bystander.

    I do need to comment on the EMT responses. i was soooo disappointed in how long it took for them to get there and i was one of the people in the crowd yelling for him to RUN!! They literally looked like they were walking in for a call about a scrapped knee. There was zero urgency with them. Very sad and like i said just disappointing.

  • Chubby Kid From South Park

    Ever notice how the people with the loudest opinions about how to raise kids are the one who don’t have any?

  • LoveMyBoys!!

    I was at the pool with my 7 Year old son.. I will never forget what happened yesterday. Hearing the father’s screams and just seeing how helpless he felt as his baby died in front of him will haunt everyone at that pool FOREVER!! It is amazing how quick everyone is to judge this poor family and lifeguards without even really knowing the details; you read one article about it and think you understand?? I think society today has forgotten the golden rule… Treat others how you want to be treated. If this was you or someone in your family, would you want people judging you without any facts?? Everyone that was there understands the circumstances and what took place. I am sure they have shed many tears as I have after witnessing this tragic ACCIDENT!! I ask you all to think before you wrtie any further hateful and judgmental comments. I can surely assure you this father is beating himself up already, he doesn’t need it from anyone else!!

    As for the EMT response, I agree! The police arrived very quickly but it felt like an eternity before the EMT’s arrived and they were walking. I felt there could have been a little bit more urgency on their part but I do not know if it would have helped.

    I hope that this family, the young lifeguards, and everyone else who witnessed this horrible tragedy will find peace in time….. RIP Little one, RIP!!

  • Gob

    I was there to witness this tragedy and it had absolutely nothing to do with negligent parents, it was freak accident. My prayers and thoughts go out to the family who is suffering from this loss.

  • Linda Simons

    To everyone involved in this horrible accident, the poor, poor parents, the lifeguards, and all who witnessed this tragedy, our hearts go out to you.

  • Big-boned Kid From South Park

    It’s not offensive, and she shouldn’t have been banned. However, putting your kid’s bare behind on the internet is probably not the best idea. It’s not the same thing as the family photo album, even if you DO have a weird uncle.

  • Oli Purkovic

    Wow!!! Just finished watching the Fox news report on this and all I can say …..SHAMEFUL. 95 percent of the report was about the lifeguards and how hard they are coping and the representative from the rec center trying essentially to avoid a law suit. I can not believe that in a tragic circumstance such as this all they can talk about is how life guards are receiving some kind of counseling and setting up a story to explain how they were not legally liable. Then towards the end they said that they will never know how long the child was under water and submerged ……..Let’s focus on the tragedy so that it would not happen again and not show the people like that lady from the rec center who showed no emotion and called it an “incident”. It was a tragedy!!! I personally know the family and they are good good people and our hearts and prayers go out to them. Shame on you Fox 13 because the only role you played here was to try and explain how the rec center was not liable which is false…..

    • Big-boned Kid From South Park

      Idiots blaming the parents. Idiots blaming the Rec Center. Idiots blaming the paramedics. Idiots blaming the media.

      The common thread: Idiots.

  • Karla

    My family and I were there and we would like to help the family in any way. They are always in our heart.

  • amy

    Oli Purkovic let us know if there is some way to help this family. This story is heartbreaking and I hope that the response time is looked into as if you cannot rely on calling 911 in an emergency, that leaves us all at risk. To all of the negative comments are just what you would expect from people who can’t get anyone else to listen to them unless they force people to online.

  • dianakhachiyants

    18 lifeguards obviously should be at least fired and no longer have their jobs to protect anyone and anything. Yes, parents must be watching their kids at all times but how is it possible that no one had noticed?? Lifeguards should be traumatized, but can walk away since it’s not their kid that had died!!

  • dianakhachiyants

    18 lifeguards should be least no longer have their jobs to protect anyone or anything. Yes, parents must be watching their kids at all times but how is it possible that no one had noticed?? Lifeguards should be traumatized, but can walk away since it’s not their kid that had died!! R.I.P little boy, our condolences to family…….

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