Boy drowns in Daytona Beach wave pool

Victim was 5 years old

Guests at a local water park describe the moments they saw a little boy drowning in a wave pool.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A 5-year-old boy drowned at a Daytona Beach wave pool Saturday, according to the Daytona Beach Fire Department. 

The boy was swimming in the wave pool at Daytona Lagoon with his family before he was taken out and lifeguards administered CPR just before 1 p.m., according to authorities. 

The boy was transported to Halifax Health Medical Center but died en route. 

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family right now,” says Tyler Currie, general manager of Daytona Lagoon.  “This is a tragedy that leaves us all with heavy hearts.”

It's unclear if the waves were running when the boy drowned, according to Currie. 

The park's website details how there are height restrictions for who can enjoy the wave pool: 

  • Must be 48 inches tall without a life jacket.
  • Guest 42 inches tall or under must wear a life jacket with adult supervision.

"Unfortunately, he did not have a life jacket on," Currie said. "We require smaller children [to wear one], and he was right around the area where he wasn't required." 

Christina Heatley and her son, Jacob, were in the park when it happened. 

"They did CPR compressions on him for a long time," she said. "Kids likes to go under water, they like to hold their breath and they think they're playing, but that wasn't playing."

"It was a little bit scary, because I tapped on him and I was thinking, 'He was holding his breath for a long time,'" Jacob Heatley said.  

Currie told News 6 lifeguards and a guest, who happened to be a doctor, stepped in and tried to save the child. 

The water park did not close after the incident, but a representative told News 6 the park plans to conduct their own review of what happened. 

About the Authors:

It has been an absolute pleasure for Clay LePard living and working in Orlando since he joined News 6 in July 2017. Previously, Clay worked at WNEP TV in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he brought viewers along to witness everything from unprecedented access to the Tobyhanna Army Depot to an interview with convicted double-murderer Hugo Selenski.

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.