Girl, 6, ID'd after apparent drowning

Deputies responded to the Washington County swimming beach at 1:17 p.m. Sunday on the report of a 6-year-old who had been pulled from the water and was not breathing. http://kare11.tv/2qNKWb2

LAKE ELMO, Minn. -- Authorities have identified the 6-year-old girl who died after being pulled from the swimming pond at Lake Elmo Park Reserve Sunday afternoon.

The Washington County Sheriff's Office says the girl was Ghia Vue, from St. Paul.

Deputies responded to the Washington County swimming beach at 1:17 p.m. on the report of a 6-year-old who had been pulled from the water and was not breathing.

"Everybody was in shock, kind of. Not knowing really what was going on. People started to clear the water immediately," said witness Kayla Johnson of Oakdale.

CPR was performed and Vue was brought to Regions Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, according to the sheriff's office.

Wayne Sandberg, county engineer and deputy public works director, told KARE 11 there were no lifeguards on duty at the time but that there were two beach monitors working. He said the park makes announcements every hour stating that no guards are on duty and that parents are responsible for their children.

According to Sandberg, lifeguards will start work in about two weeks, but even then they're not guarding every hour of the day and instead typically work noon to 8 p.m.

Sandberg said the maximum depth in the pond is four and a half feet, but he believes the child was in even shallower water.

Washington County was assisted by Lake Elmo Rescue, Lakeview Ambulance, Woodbury Police and the staff at the park reserve.

The Washington County Sheriff's Office and the Washington County Parks Department are investigating this case.

The Ramsey County Medical Examiner will conduct an autopsy, and results will be available in six to eight weeks.

Water safety warning from the DNR

The Department of Natural Resources’ Water Safety experts say they want to remind everyone to not let their guard down when near the water.

They say families, including children, should all take swimming lessons; children under 10 should wear a life jacket; and parents should watch children carefully and never drink alcohol while swimming, boating or supervising children around water.

The latest numbers from the DNR, show higher than normal numbers for boating and non-boating fatalities/drownings in Minnesota. As of May 12, there were 13 deaths. At the same date last year, there were 11 deaths. At the same time in 2015 there were 10 and in 2014 there were 7.

The DNR says an early ice-out, warming lakes and ponds a lot sooner, could be to blame.

YMCA water safety experts say knowing how to prevent yourself and a loved one from drowning is key.

"Drowning is very silent. There isn't splashing, there isn't struggling. That could happen for a few seconds," said Shannon Kinstler, a certified lifeguard and a manager at the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities.

The YMCA is offering free swimming lessons to those who qualify in the metro.

© 2017 KARE-TV


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