EAST PIKELAND - A 5-year-old Collegeville boy was airlifted to a Philadelphia hospital after a near-drowning incident at WaterWorld Thursday afternoon.
The boy was airlifted to Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania (CHOP) via PennStar after a lifeguard noticed him in a vertical position in the pool around 12:50 p.m. June 17.
"The lifeguard noticed that the boy was in a vertical position with water up to his nose in the shallow end," said Derek Major, park manager. "The lifeguard blew his whistle and the boy responded. A lady grabbed him and brought him close to the steps, and we lifted him out of the water."
Major said the boy was taken over towards the picnic area, where he spewed out some water on several occasions.
"The boy never lost consciousness. He didn't complain of a headache. We checked his vital signs and everything was normal," said Major. "Gus (Meyer, park owner) gave him a power test (squeezing of the hand) and he had good strength in his hand.
"The boy was talking to us. He told us that he had a stomach ache. This isn't an uncommon condition. Children swallow water all of the time, so we monitor the situation closely until emergency personnel arrive."
West End Ambulance responded to the scene and after evaluating him, the boy was airlifted to CHOP as a precautionary measure.
At the time of the incident, Major said there were 150-160 people in the park, and approximately 40 people, mostly children, were in the park's swimming pool.
"We have three lifeguards on at all times, at every station, constantly watching the water," said Major. "I'm usually walking around the perimeter in case I'm needed."
Meyer said almost every summer, they'll have an instance where a child will swallow too much water.
"Our lifeguards are highly trained to handle situations like this," said Meyer. "We responded quickly today and it appears the young boy will be fine."
Assisting at the scene were West End Ambulance, East Pikeland Township Police Department, Kimberton Fire Company and Schuylkill Police Department.