Opps, sorry scaru.
Township officials have closed the swimming pond on Route 94 to the public as a result of the drowning of a 4-year-old Pennsylvania boy over the weekend and to give State Police access to complete their investigation.
Samuel Vaughan, of Bushkill, Pa., was pronounced dead at Newton Medical Center at 4:40 p.m. Sunday, just over an hour after his body was pulled from the pond, said State Police spokesman Lt. Steve Jones.
On Monday, a small stuffed lamb sat on a park bench and a vase of flowers had blown over. Beside the lamb a handwritten note said: “There are no words … RIP Samuel, may God comfort your family in their time of loss.” The note was signed with a drawing of a flower.
Lafayette Mayor Gregory Corcoran said the pond would normally have closed for the season on Labor Day but was being closed a week early out of respect for the boy’s death and because the police investigation has not been completed.
Jones said State Police received the initial call about 3:30 p.m. regarding a missing child at the park and as the trooper arrived minutes later, the call had been changed to an unresponsive person found in the pond.
The police report said that when the trooper arrived, people were starting to perform CPR and he set up his Automatic External Defibrillator. About that same time, the Lafayette rescue squad arrived and used the AED on the boy. He was quickly transported to the medical center where he was later pronounced dead.
Jones said the investigation shows the boy was with a large group at the pond, which is part of the Lafayette park. He said the report notes the gathering was either a family reunion or a church
The lifeguard on duty got involved in rescuing a small girl who was having trouble swimming, officials said. As the lifeguard was bringing her to shore, a family member who had been watching Samuel discovered him missing.
A quick search of the grounds did not find the boy.
The lieutenant said the investigation shows the lifeguard cleared the pond of people and organized a search in the water as police were notified.
“They were doing an arm-in-arm search of the swimming area when the boy was found on the bottom,” Jones said.
Corcoran said the searchers were only thigh-deep and at the start of their search when the boy was found in relatively shallow water.
The spring-fed pond was created about 1980 on land that once housed the township garage, according to Corcoran. It is a multi-use recreation area, providing skating in winter when the ice is safe and fishing during appropriate seasons. The pond also serves as a water supply for fire emergencies.
Corcoran said during the summer, the pond is open for swimming from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. when a lifeguard is on duty and closed for swimming at all other times.
New Jersey Sanitary Code, which governs public recreational bathing, requires at least one lifeguard be on duty for every 300 feet of visible shoreline at all times that the bathing beach is in operation. The Lafayette pond swimming area is smaller than 300 feet.
While the mayor would not identify the lifeguard who was on duty Sunday, Corcoran said the person acted properly and “in an extremely professional manner. He handled himself in a way that I can only describe as the best anyone can ever expect from anybody.”
He said the young man’s age is not a factor.
“All I care is how capable they are,” he said. “Are they capable of doing the job they are hired to do and are they doing the job they were hired to do.”
He said he knows members of the Vaughan family and described them as multi-generational residents of Lafayette.
“This was a tragic incident,” he said, “a very tragic incident for the family, friends and the community as a whole.”
The Vaughan family lived in Newton until they moved to Bushkill two years ago.
Samuel is survived by his parents, William and Bobbie-Jo Vaughan, and brothers, Liam and Nathaniel.
He also is survived by grandparents, Jon and Hollie Vaughan, of Lafayette, and William and Missy O’Donnell, of Newton.
Services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Crossroads Assembly of God Church in Hamburg. Calling hours will be 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at Iliff-Ruggiero Funeral Home on Main Street in Newton.