JSO: 12-year-old pulled from pool at party dies

Police say boy taken to hospital in critical condition died Saturday

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 12-year-old boy pulled from a pool Saturday during a party at a condominium complex on Atlantic Boulevard has died, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said.

Dale Fuller was pulled from the pool just after 5 p.m. at the Carlton at Oaks Landing on Atlantic Boulevard near Bartram Road. News4Jax learned the pool had been reserved that day for a private party and there was a sign warning "No Lifeguard on Duty."

Several adults and children were in and out of the pool during the party, and sources told News4Jax that Dale's drowning was captured on the complex's security camera.

They said Dale could be seen struggling to swim in the center of the pool and for some reason an adult nearby walked away. Dale was seen on the video treading water in the deep end before he slipped underwater for about 3½ minutes. Finally someone noticed and several adults pulled him from the water and tried to perform CPR.

Dale was in the intensive care unit at Baptist Hospital but died Saturday, police said. His death has been ruled an apparent drowning but an autopsy is pending, police said.

It's unclear if Dale knew how to swim.

News4Jax has learned Dale played basketball for the Jacksonville Warriors and that the party at the pool was a birthday gathering for one of the team's players.

“We really enjoyed this young man. (He) had a very bright future," a representative for the Jacksonville Warriors said.

A representative of the Fuller family said they were too distraught to talk about what happened.

Police are reviewing the surveillance video to learn how Dale went under the water.

An employee at the complex was absolutely devastated and emotional about what happened.

Swimming safety

Cindi Partee, regional aquatics director for the YMCA, said Saturday's tragedy is a reminder that secounds count and parents can never take their eyes off their children, especially around water.

She said it takes less than 20 seconds for a child to slip under the water once he or she begins to struggle, and it takes less than a minute for them to become unconscious.

MORE: Free swim lessons for Duval County children

"I think that when we have a tragedy like this, you need to say, 'Really be there. Watch the children. Don't allow your children to go to a pool without supervision or lifeguards,'" Partee said. "The thing is, too, that when they are drowning or beginning to drown, they don't make sounds, because they are just desperate to get that air in, and so they can't even alert a person that it is happening."

She said if no lifeguard is on duty, families should appoint a water watcher.

"Parents need to make sure that their kids are formally trained to swim and that they are strong swimmers, and even when they are ready to be sent to the pool, those parents still need to be there," Partee said. "It doesn't matter if it is an Olympic swimmer in the water, they should never be alone."

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