RAYBURN TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — A young boy died overnight after being pulled from a swimming pool unresponsive Saturday evening in Armstrong County.
According to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office, 8-year-old Trent Barrett of Kittanning was pronounced dead at Children’s Hospital at 12:10 a.m.
According to state police, Barrett and his younger sister had been swimming in the pool at Staley’s Motor Court Motel in Rayburn Township in the afternoon and were being supervised by an adult relative.
A young man at the pool said he saw the boy begin to go under the water. He said he called out to one of the boy’s relatives and then took action.
“I just looked over and saw him going down with bubbles coming out of his mouth, and I knew he wasn’t swimming. I knew it wasn’t common,” said Nathan Cousins, a witness. “So I went running over and that’s whenever his grandma jumped in and grabbed him.”
Cousins said the boy was unconscious when he was pulled from the pool after 6 p.m. Barrett taken to Armstrong County Memorial Hospital in critical condition and then was flown to Children’s Hospital.
Barrett’s family says he loved wrestling, cars and the outdoors.
They also say he was a daredevil who loved to climb, especially trees. So, they planted a tree in his honor on Sunday with a plaque that says “Those we have held in our arms for a little while, we hold in our hearts forever.”
“I thought this was a perfect way to memorialize him. We’ll love this tree just as much as we loved him,” said Jessie Claypoole, Barrett’s uncle. “He was my little nephew, but I treated him like I would my own son.”
What exactly happened at the pool is unknown. The family that runs the motel says they stress safety.
“They tell them that it’s the parents’ responsibility to watch the children. We usually have someone out here, but there wasn’t anybody out here, unfortunately,” said Cassidy Hicks, whose family owns the motel. “We tell them to put floaties on them and we tell them not to let them in the deep end by themselves.”
Witnesses say Barrett did have floaties on at one point. His grandfather says the boy dropped his goggles and may have taken the floaties off to dive and get them.
His grandmother performed CPR, but Barrett died at the hospital where doctors told them he had a lump on his head, which he may have hit jumping off the diving board, or they thought he may have been fatigued or had a reaction to pool chemicals.
The Allegheny County Medical Examiner will do an autopsy Monday.
State police in Kittanning and the Armstrong County District Attorney’s Office are looking into the incident, though at the moment they say it appears to be just an accident.