WARWICK, R.I. (AP) — Some witnesses say lifeguards and emergency responders took too long to search the water for a 6-year-old boy who drowned at a busy Warwick beach, but authorities contend that they followed protocol.
Jamir Stewart, of Providence, was pulled from the water during a search Sunday evening, police said. They are investigating but are treating the death as accidental.
Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian on Monday offered sympathy and condolences to the family.
He said two lifeguards were on duty and were notified at around 5:30 p.m. that the boy was missing. The lifeguards walked the beach to look for him and then cleared the water. Meanwhile, Avedisian said, responding police and fire personnel searched the park.
Volunteers formed a human chain to walk into the water to search for the boy, and they found him in 3 to 4 feet of water.
A firefighter then administered CPR, and the boy was taken to Kent Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Angel Soares, of East Providence, told The Providence Journal that she pulled the boy from the water after he was found during the search. She said lifeguards and rescue personnel took too long to search the water, and when the search did happen, it was organized by the child's mother and aunts.
Avedisian and Warwick Police Chief Stephen McCartney defended the search, saying it was not clear that the boy was in the water and that the lifeguards followed protocols established by the Red Cross.