The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Child drowns at Clovis pool


A 3-year-old boy drowned Wednesday at Potter Park pool. He was pronounced dead at Clovis’ Plains Regional Medical Center in the late afternoon.

Police were withholding the name of the child pending notification of the mother, police said late Wednesday.

Officials said they believe the boy lives in the Dallas area and was visiting family in Clovis for the summer.

Emergency services were dispatched to the pool at 4:43 p.m., according to a press release from the Clovis Police Department.

Rescue workers found a child had been removed from the pool and life-saving efforts were under way, the press release said.

“When we got there we took over the efforts that were being performed,” said Battalion Chief Ike Burns of the Clovis Fire Department. “We put the child in the ambulance fairly quickly.”

The Clovis Fire Department responded to the pool within about two minutes, Burns said, and the child was in an ambulance bound for the hospital nine minutes after the original call.

According to city officials, the pool was fully staffed with five lifeguards at the time of the drowning.

Police department spokesman James Schoeffel said the accident occurred in the shallow end of the pool, but disclosed no further details.

“They are still collecting information and doing interviews,” he said.

Clovis City Manager Joe Thomas said there were about 30 people in the pool at the time of the incident. He said the pool’s capacity is 160.

Thomas said he could not recall a drowning in Clovis in at least 15 years. City of Clovis Parks Superintendent Neil Lambert said this was the first drowning he remembers since he came to the city seven years ago.

“It’s a definite tragedy,” he said, “I feel for the boy’s family, but I also feel for my lifeguards.”

Lambert said the lifeguards were very emotional following the drowning. He declined to discuss specifics of the incident, stating the investigation is still ongoing.

The pool was closed following the drowning, Lambert said. It will not be reopened until the New Mexico Environmental Department inspects the pool and issues the city another license for its use. He said he didn’t know how long that could take.

Lambert described the facility as one of the “safest and most modern pools in the state.”

The pool was closed on Tuesday after vandals broke in, threw trash cans into the water and did about $400 worth of damage to property, officials said. It was reopened about 1 p.m. on Wednesday.

Thomas said officials have no reason to suspect the drowning was connected to the vandalism.


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