By Mike Hughlett, Star Tribune

A 6-year-old boy at a birthday party drowned Saturday at Theodore Wirth Park in Golden Valley.

About 5:30 p.m., someone walking in Wirth Lake notice a child on the lake bottom in about 4 feet of water, not far from shore, according to the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office.  

Lifeguards were alerted, and they pulled the boy from the water and began CPR. The boy was taken by ambulance to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale, where he was pronounce dead.

The boy, whose name has not yet been released, was from Golden Valley.  He was at the park with family for the party, according to the Sheriff's Office.

It's not clear if the boy could swim, said Lt. Chris Mathisen with the Sheriff's Office. "From what we know, he was wearing swimwear and in the water with a group of family members and kids."

It's also no clear how long the boy was under. Two witnesses said it may have been 10 minutes, Mathisen said. The drowning occurred in a stretch of water patrolled by lifeguards, he said. "The beach was extremely busy and very chaotic with people splashing around and things like that." 

Mathisen said the drowning underscores the need for vigilance when kids are in the water. "That's the message we've got to get out there, we need an adult or caregiver to give constant attention. If someone's not watching, it can be over like that."

The boys is the sixth person to drown in Hennepin County this year. Statewide in 2012, the number of drownings has hit a 10-year high, according to state report last week. Prior to Saturday, 25 people had drowned in nonboating incidents.

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The Dragonfly Story

Excerpted from the eulogy at Abbey Taylor's Celebration of Life Service

Below the surface of a quiet pond lived a colony of water bugs. They were happy, living far from the sun. But they noticed that occasionally, a member of their colony would climb up a lily stalk and disappear from sight, never to return. Where do you suppose she went? wondered a water bug.

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Pool Safety Tips

  • Use the Water Watchdog System to make sure children are always closely supervised in the pool area.

  • Remind kids to stay away from pool and hot tub drains.

  • Never dive into water less than 9 feet deep.

  • Keep gates to the pool area latched.

More water safety tips