Gig Harbor girl unresponsive after nearly drowning at YMCA

An eight-year-old girl is at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital after nearly drowning at the Gig Harbor YMCA.

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The Gig Harbor Fire Department said crews worked on her all the way from the YMCA to the children’s hospital in Tacoma. Fire chief John Burgess said when the eight-year-old was delivered to hospital staff, she was still unresponsive.

The YMCA said the girl was swimming in the "instructional pool" with a female adult family member Saturday afternoon when a lifeguard spotted something wrong.

"We had an 8-year-old girl who was found unresponsive in our pool about 2 p.m. today," said Michelle LaRue, a spokesperson for the YMCA.

Lifeguards tried to revive her but were unsuccessful and called 911.

Medics rushed her to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital.

“I can’t express enough our sorrow for the family and just our hearts and prayers are with them,” LaRue said.

One Gig Harbor mom said her girls used to swim at the YMCA.

“I just feel for her parents. I think that’s just a scary tragic thing, especially with a little child. It just breaks my heart,” said Karen Schobert who lives close to the YMCA.

LaRue said a swim meet was just about to start at the YMCA – so the bigger pool, or “lap lane pool” was empty.

The girl was in the smaller pool which is four feet at its deepest point.

The YMCA said a total of nine adults and 11 kids were in the water, with three lifeguards on duty – which the YMCA says is triple what’s required in their lifeguard-to-participant ratio of 1-to-20.

“As a mom I have two girls, they’re 6 and 9, they both swim at the Y and I know our protocols.  I know how safe the Y is. I feel confident always, having them swim at the Y and that hasn’t changed,” LaRue said.

People who were here when the incident happened said for a short while, no one was allowed to leave the YMCA and people stood around wet and in towels, as emergency vehicles swarmed the YMCA. 
The YMCA said it's working with Gig Harbor police to figure out how long the girl was under water and what led up to the incident.

“Our pool will remain closed until we finalize the investigation,” LaRue said. She said the pools will likely reopen Monday.

Support is being provided for both the Gig Harbor first responders and YMCA staff involved with the incident.