Boy, 11, dies unexpectedly while playing at California waterpark with friends

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By Michelle H

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An 11-year-old boy lost his life during what was supposed to be a fun-filled day with friends at a California waterpark.

Titus Mark Wininger was enjoying his time at Wild Rivers Water Park in Irvine when he faced a sudden medical emergency around 11AM on Saturday.

Rushed by firefighters to a nearby hospital, Titus was sadly pronounced dead upon arrival, according to The Orange County Register.

A GoFundMe page set up for his grieving family mentions that Titus "was with his youth group at a water park when he became unresponsive and the medical staff attended to him immediately." The page further explains that his family "is still waiting for more information or to understand why," and asks for privacy during this difficult time.

$24,462 has been raised at the time of writing.

Screenshot 2024-06-27 at 10.41.30.pngCredit: GoFundMe

Wild Rivers officials took to Facebook to explain that the boy from Escondido "experienced a non-water, but medical related incident outside one of our pools." 

The full post read: “We are deeply saddened to share that an incident occurred today at Wild Rivers. A 12-year-old boy experienced a non-water, but medical-related incident outside one of our pools. Despite the swift response from our team and emergency services, he sadly passed away later at the hospital. Our hearts go out to the boy’s family and loved ones during this difficult time. We ask that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers.”


On Tuesday, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Matt Parrish revealed that a coroner had found Titus suffered from a rare congenital heart defect, leading to his death from anomalous insertion of coronary arteries.

The Cleveland Clinic describes this condition as an anomalous coronary artery that is incorrectly formed before birth, often "in the wrong place or is coming from the wrong place." Although up to 1% of the population is affected by this condition, "most cases are not dangerous," according to the clinic.

By Wednesday afternoon, the GoFundMe page for Titus had raised more than $20,000. The fundraiser states: "While the family is still waiting for more information or to understand why, we would like to meet them with love, support, and a monetary donation that they may need in this time of sorrow."

Tragically, Titus’s passing occurred just two days before another incident in New Jersey, where a six-year-old boy was found unresponsive in a swimming pool on the first day of a summer camp.

Tragedy struck on the first day of summer camp when six-year-old Michael Stewart from Lumberton, New Jersey, drowned in a shallow pool. 

His heartbroken mother, Enjoli Stewart, is now speaking out, claiming the camp 'messed up' in a big way. "Liberty Lakes messed up. Big time. And now I don't have a son anymore. That's heartbreaking," she tearfully shared with Fox 29.

The incident occurred around 2PM on Monday at Liberty Lake Day Camp. Michael was found unresponsive during a swim session designed for first and second graders. 

The camp, which charges $6,100 per child for the summer, was part of an inclusion program for children with additional or special needs. Despite the camp's assurance of ample staff and lifeguards on duty, the circumstances of Michael's drowning remain unclear.

Featured image credit: GoodLifeStudio / Getty

Boy, 11, dies unexpectedly while playing at California waterpark with friends

vt-author-image

By Michelle H

Article saved!Article saved!

An 11-year-old boy lost his life during what was supposed to be a fun-filled day with friends at a California waterpark.

Titus Mark Wininger was enjoying his time at Wild Rivers Water Park in Irvine when he faced a sudden medical emergency around 11AM on Saturday.

Rushed by firefighters to a nearby hospital, Titus was sadly pronounced dead upon arrival, according to The Orange County Register.

A GoFundMe page set up for his grieving family mentions that Titus "was with his youth group at a water park when he became unresponsive and the medical staff attended to him immediately." The page further explains that his family "is still waiting for more information or to understand why," and asks for privacy during this difficult time.

$24,462 has been raised at the time of writing.

Screenshot 2024-06-27 at 10.41.30.pngCredit: GoFundMe

Wild Rivers officials took to Facebook to explain that the boy from Escondido "experienced a non-water, but medical related incident outside one of our pools." 

The full post read: “We are deeply saddened to share that an incident occurred today at Wild Rivers. A 12-year-old boy experienced a non-water, but medical-related incident outside one of our pools. Despite the swift response from our team and emergency services, he sadly passed away later at the hospital. Our hearts go out to the boy’s family and loved ones during this difficult time. We ask that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers.”


On Tuesday, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Matt Parrish revealed that a coroner had found Titus suffered from a rare congenital heart defect, leading to his death from anomalous insertion of coronary arteries.

The Cleveland Clinic describes this condition as an anomalous coronary artery that is incorrectly formed before birth, often "in the wrong place or is coming from the wrong place." Although up to 1% of the population is affected by this condition, "most cases are not dangerous," according to the clinic.

By Wednesday afternoon, the GoFundMe page for Titus had raised more than $20,000. The fundraiser states: "While the family is still waiting for more information or to understand why, we would like to meet them with love, support, and a monetary donation that they may need in this time of sorrow."

Tragically, Titus’s passing occurred just two days before another incident in New Jersey, where a six-year-old boy was found unresponsive in a swimming pool on the first day of a summer camp.

Tragedy struck on the first day of summer camp when six-year-old Michael Stewart from Lumberton, New Jersey, drowned in a shallow pool. 

His heartbroken mother, Enjoli Stewart, is now speaking out, claiming the camp 'messed up' in a big way. "Liberty Lakes messed up. Big time. And now I don't have a son anymore. That's heartbreaking," she tearfully shared with Fox 29.

The incident occurred around 2PM on Monday at Liberty Lake Day Camp. Michael was found unresponsive during a swim session designed for first and second graders. 

The camp, which charges $6,100 per child for the summer, was part of an inclusion program for children with additional or special needs. Despite the camp's assurance of ample staff and lifeguards on duty, the circumstances of Michael's drowning remain unclear.

Featured image credit: GoodLifeStudio / Getty