Boy Drowns in Pond on Squaw Island

9:20 PM, Jun 7, 2011   |    comments
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BUFFALO, NY - A tragedy while some families were out enjoying Sunday night's beautiful weather.

Police say a 9-year-old Joel Rama of from Buffalo was pulled out of a pond on Squaw Island, and all attempts to revive him failed.

First responders, including the Buffalo Police Underwater Recovery Dive Team, were called to the scene after the child went into the water and never resurfaced. Dozens of rescue workers searched for the boy for at least a half hour. Seconds after the child was pulled from the water, paramedics were seen administering CPR as the boy was carried into an ambulance. Police say 9-year-old Joel Rama was pronounced dead at Women and Children's Hospital. His name has not been released.

A large crowd gathered to watch the rescue attempt as many families spent the day at the park.  Swimming is forbidden there, and a few signs are posted warning of the dangers.

Earlier this week Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown discussed this very issue with Channel 2 News; discouraging anyone from swimming in any water not supervised by lifeguards.

"We do have extra patrols on now. We have beefed up police patrols in neighborhoods, in parks, in business districts certainly around pools and recreation centers because that is in the purview of our park security we have enhanced. But we're also looking into maybe opening some of the splash pads earlier in the city so kids can get into the water," said Brown.

This is not the first time a drowning has occurred at the pond on Squaw Island. Just over a year ago, a teenager drowned in the waters after getting in for a swim.

North District Councilman Joseph Golombek said in his district, which includes Squaw Island, "there's hundreds of of locations where the kids can get into the river, the canal, so at this point I'm not sure there's much more city can do."

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Ofc. Tyler Benson says children and adults should be aware that swimming in natual bodies of water this time of year especially, can be dangerous.

"The big thing to be aware of, even though the warm air temperature, the water is only 50 or 60 degrees, and it will pull your body tempuerature down 25 times faster than air temperature," said Benson.

Crisis counselors were on hand all day Monday at Buffalo Public School #3, where Rama attended.  School officials say they will be there Tuesday as well.



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