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Boy critical after near-drowning

A 7-year-old boy nearly drowned late Thursday afternoon in a pool at the Horseshoe Southern Indiana Hotel in Bridgeport.
According to Chief Wayne Kessinger of the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department, the incident happened at about 4:40 p.m. in the pool area of the hotel, where approximately 137 people had gathered. The pool area, which notes that there’s no lifeguard on duty and swimmers do so at their own risk, has a maximum capacity of 200. Witnesses say 30 to 50 people were in the pool when the incident occurred.
‘A great-aunt had brought two nephews and two nieces to the hotel for spring break,’ Kessinger said. ‘The children ‘ the two girls were 13 and 11, and the boys were 8 and 7 ‘ were going back and forth between the pool and the hot tub, and the youngest boy was afraid of the water and, basically, just sitting on the steps of the shallow end of the pool.’
The younger boy, Josiah Washington of Louisville, eventually got in the water and was holding onto the edge of the pool, eventually making his way to the middle of the pool, which was about four feet in depth.
Though no one was able to say for sure how long Josiah had been under the water, at some point the boy went under. That’s when 14-year-old Gerrick Huffman, also of Louisville but not in the same party as Josiah, noticed the 7-year-old’s trunks under the water and instinctively jumped in and pulled the boy to the side of the pool.
‘We don’t know if Josiah slipped or got bumped or what,’ Kessinger said. ‘He could have been under the water one minute, multiple minutes or 20 to 40 minutes. No one really knows.’
Two adult females in the area started CPR on Josiah, who had no pulse when they started resuscitation efforts. Once they got a pulse, the boy was transported to Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Services in New Albany before being sent to Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville.
Conservation Officer Jim Schreck of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources responded to the scene along with Kessinger and Officer Kerry Freeberg of the HCSD.
‘All that I would add is that it was very critical that a nurse and off-duty firefighter were on the scene to perform CPR,’ Schreck said.
Kessinger said Josiah was originally listed in critical condition Thursday. On Friday, he was listed in critical but stable condition. Josiah had not regained consciousness as far as Kessinger knew.
‘He’s got a long road ahead of him. Obviously, the whole family is very emotional right now,’ Kessinger said. ‘Those three people saved his life. I was very impressed with Mr. Huffman and his actions. He’s very well spoken. The interesting thing is that his family was supposed to have checked out of the hotel the day before, but they decided to stay another night. I guess there was another reason for him to be there.’