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SouthtownStar (Chicago, Illinois)

A 6-year-old Justice boy died Wednesday after lifeguards pulled him unresponsive from a Bridgeview pool Tuesday afternoon.

At 1:43 p.m., Michael Duda was unable to breathe when lifeguards pulled him from the shallow end of the Bridgeview Park District pool, according to Bridgeview Police Chief Walter Klimek.

"He was unresponsive and they immediately began CPR, which continued until the paramedics arrived in a few minutes," Klimek said.

Michael was taken to the intensive care unit at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he died at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, according to police and the Cook County medical examiner's office.

The boy was at the pool at 8100 S. Beloit Ave. as part of a park district summer camp program, Klimek said.

"There were 73 children and 10 counselors (from the camp) who were chaperoning them at the pool," Klimek said. "The pool is closed and will remain closed through Friday due to the fact that this is still an active investigation."

Police have reviewed videotape but saw nothing that explained why the boy was unresponsive, he said.

"You can see him being rescued and CPR being given to him," Klimek said.

There were about 300 people in the pool, well below the 345 maximum that is allowed, he said.

"We are not sure exactly what happened, but we do know based on interviews, the lifeguards acted quickly," Klimek said.

"We're still in the process of interviewing lifeguards, the counselors and so forth," he said. "The lifeguards did a very good job. They were complimented by the paramedic unit."

"This is the first major emergency at the pool in the last 30 years. Summer is just beginning, and now we've got this," Klimek said.

Joe Vallez, superintendent of parks and recreation for the Justice Park District, declined to comment on the incident. He did say this is the second full week of summer camp, which is for children ages 3 through 12.

"Obviously at this point the park district is in a fact-gathering mode, so we're not really ready to release any statements. We're going to do it in the next couple of days. We're still interviewing people and things like that," Vallez said Wednesday afternoon.

Asked if one counselor for seven children was the recommended level of staffing for a field trip to a swimming pool, he said, "We're not going to make any official comment on anything with respect to what occurred."

Thomas Landek, director of parks and recreation for the Bridgeview Park District, was not in the office late this afternoon and did not immediately respond to a phone message left at 4 p.m.

A receptionist said, "He's been in and out all day."

Landek's brother Steve is the mayor of Bridgeview.

Contributing: Mitch Armentrout


Fact Box:


The Bridgeview Park District pool will remain closed through Friday, officials say. | Steve MEtsch/Sun-Times Media


June 19, 2014




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