Jacksonville family, Bolles community shaken by boy's death on playground

10-year-old Ryan Perry strangled while playing on ropes course swing

Published On: Sep 06 2012 02:09:54 PM EDT   Updated On: Sep 06 2012 09:08:20 PM EDT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The family of a 10-year-old Bolles School student who died on Wednesday evening says the boy was only alone on the campus' ropes course for two minutes.

Ryan Perry, a fifth grader at Bolles, was playing on a rope swing while his older brother was at football practice at the middle school's Bartram Road campus.

One of the ropes caught him around his neck and he was strangled, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

The incident report says Ryan's 8-year-old sister was playing on an adjacent rope. When she saw the rope around his neck and realized he wasn't breathing, she ran for help.

"The dad was watching the practice, which is not very far away," said JSO Sgt. Shawn Coarsey.

A Bolles faculty member who teaches CPR and another parent who is a doctor immediately administered CPR until Perry was taken to Baptist Medical Center, but he could not be revived.

"I got on my knees and prayed, and so did my neighbor next door," said Bartram Road resident Florence Buie. "We were praying for that child and his family."

School officials said grief counselors were available on all their campuses on Thursday. Bolles sent a letter to parents calling Ryan's death a terrible accident.

"We know our wonderful Bolles community will embrace this family with their support and prayers during this time of loss," Brian Johnson wrote. (Read Johnson' complete statement)

Channel 4's safety expert Ken Jefferson said kids of any age need adult supervision.

"If it's a child, you got to watch them," Jefferson said. "Whether it's a fifth grader or first grader, kids are going to be kids. And sometimes kids become adventurous and they try things, they do different things that may not be the safest thing to do."