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Child, 8, in hospital after near drowning

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By Chris Sardelli

INDIAN LAND - A week after almost drowning in an Indian Land community pool, a young girl remains in critical condition in a Charlotte hospital.

On June 5, Kamila Strother, 8, of Indian Land, was found on the bottom of the BridgeMill neighborhood pool. Strother had been attending another child’s birthday party.

At about 8 p.m. that day, the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office responded to a possible drowning at 7135 Harcourt Crossing, which is the BridgeMill neighborhood pool.

According to a sheriff’s office report, the pool’s lifeguard, Jacob Roberts, was closing the pool after working the birthday party.

As guests were leaving, a child told him there was someone lying on the pool floor. Roberts saw the girl in the 5-foot-deep end of the pool, jumped in, and with the help of several parents, pulled Kamila from the water, the report said.

Kamila was unconscious and not breathing, but Roberts quickly performed CPR and she began to breathe again.

About this time, the girl’s mother, Lillian Strother, arrived to pick her child up from the party. Strother told authorities that Kamila did not know how to swim.

Lancaster County EMS Director Lanny Bernard said both EMS and Indian Land Rescue responded to the call.

“It was a near drowning and we transported the child to CMC (Carolinas Medical Center in Pineville),” Bernard said.

Bernard said victims of near drowning often require CPR. In this case, Bernard said the child did not require CPR from EMS. Instead EMS “treated her symptoms medically.”

Representatives at Levine Children’s Hospital said Strother was in critical condition Friday, but no further information was available.

“It was an unfortunate accident and we’re very proud of the lifeguard’s actions,” said Steve McLaughlin, vice president with Carolina Pool Management Co., which services the BridgeMill pool.

Joshua Miller, manager for BridgeMill’s neighborhood management association, declined to comment.

Georgette Wendover, who lives in the BridgeMill neighborhood, heard  about the accident from her neighbors. Many of them have children the same age as Kamila, and several of those families attended a prayer vigil for Kamila last week. Wendover said she saw between 100 and 150 people at the vigil, as well as a pastor.

“They were just doing a prayer to give her strength because she may be in a semi-induced coma,” Wendover said. “I feel very sorry for the family.”

She worries that this type of accident could happen again, and hopes people educate themselves on pool safety.  

“With summer here, pool safety is a big priority,” Wendover said. “There are over 200 families here and many don’t know about pool safety.

“I want parents to be careful when their kids are at the pool,” she said. “You need to be watchful.”

Contact reporter Chris Sardelli at csardelli@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 416-8416