HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — A friend of the 16-year-old who drowned at the Riverdale Pool Recreation Association in Hampton Tuesday recalled the incident and remembered him as a joyful and playful person.
According to police, the call for the drowning came in around 11:38 a.m. in the 800 block of Charlton Rd.
When officers arrived on the scene they began life-saving measures on the teen. He was then transported to a local hospital where he later died from his injuries.
Hampton Police say the teen’s death appears to be accidental at this time, but the investigation will continue into what led to the drowning of the 16-year-old. and they are still investigating the incident.
Fifteen-year-old Kaizan Verbanac remembers exactly what happened at the Riverdale Recreation Association pool Tuesday.
He was good friends with the 16 year old, whose name we are not reporting, and who would drown after going in the water before he was supposed to.
“So he jumped in on the deep end, but held on to the side of the pool because he can’t swim,” Verbanac said. “The other student takes him underwater, pushes him … so he is pushed under, he comes up, and he yells three times, ‘Help,’ goes under, yells ‘Help,’ goes under again, ‘Help,’ goes down, and then he slowly floats to the bottom.”
Verbanac said students and adults appeared to think the victim was joking around until it became obvious that he wasn’t.
“His one-to-one (person assigned to be with him) jumps into the pool,” Verbanac said. “Picks him up and brings him outside of the pool where they continue to do CPR and yell, ‘Call 911.’ “
“It didn’t take long…for multiple EMS, fire, police (to) show up,” Verbanac said. “We don’t know what’s going on.”
“At the time he was delivered to the hospital, his heart was not beating on its own … and had not beat on its own at the pool,” said Hampton Bat. Chief Anthony Chittum.
It is unclear how long the victim was underwater.
“We were loaded up on the bus and driven back to school,” Verbanac said, “where we were told nothing was to be said and no one was to say anything.”
Nothing was said, even to the parents, until the end of the day when a note was sent home. Verbanac read part of it to us:
“Dear parents, we want to inform you there was an accident with one of our students during a swimming outing today. The student received emergency life support treatment at a private pool, and many of our students saw the stressed student with the emergency first responders.”
Verbanac’s mother, Leenah, thinks the school should have informed parents sooner,
“Once they had him back at the school, I feel like they should have let parents come and pick up their kids given (what happened),” she said, “instead of sending my child home on the school bus like it was a regular day.”
The special education school is called Rivermont- a New Story school, but Kaizen will miss his friend.
“He was joyful, playful, funny student that always brought your moods up in the best of ways,” Verbanac said.
The Rivermont school emailed us. They are “extremely saddened. They are still gathering information about exactly what happened, and we are offering counseling services to anyone who requests them.”
The full statement is below:
“Rivermont Hampton can confirm the teenager who received medical attention at Riverdale Pool and later died is one of our students. We are extremely saddened by this terrible loss in our community. We are still gathering information about exactly what happened. Rivermont Hampton was closed today. We are offering counseling services to anyone who requests them. For now, we want to show respect for the student’s family and we are asking everyone to keep the family, our school, and the community in their thoughts and prayers.
“Three communications have gone to families. The first went home with students after the field trip. No other students were at any risk following the incident, which resulted in immediate rescue efforts.”Mark Hubbard – Rivermont, A New Story School spokesperson