Six-year-old boy drowns on his first day at $6,000 summer camp

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By Michelle H

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A six-year-old boy drowned on his very first day at summer camp, leaving his mother devastated and searching for answers. 

Screenshot 2024-06-27 at 12.58.56.pngCredit: GoFundMe

Michael Stewart, from Lumberton, New Jersey, was discovered unresponsive in a shallow pool at Liberty Lake Day Camp around 2PM on Monday.

Michael, participating in a swim session designed for first and second graders as part of an inclusive program for children with special needs, tragically lost his life on a day meant to be filled with fun and new experiences. 

His grieving mother, Enjoli Stewart, shared her anguish with Fox 29, stating: "Liberty Lakes messed up. Big time. And now I don't have a son anymore. That's heartbreaking."

Despite the camp's assertion that ample staff and lifeguards were on duty, the details of how Michael managed to drown or how long he was underwater remain unclear. Michael had just begun his summer break, eagerly joining the camp's activities, when the unthinkable occurred. A lifeguard spotted him, pulled him out, and administered CPR, but tragically, Michael passed away at the hospital.

Liberty Lake Day Camp reported that during the incident, the pool was supervised by a group leader, two counselors, three adult advocates—one specifically assigned to Michael—and four lifeguards. 

Yet, the mystery of how Michael drowned persists. Despite the tragedy, the camp resumed normal operations and reopened the pool on Thursday.

GettyImages-1668003710.jpgMichael Stewart, from Lumberton, New Jersey, was discovered unresponsive in a shallow pool at Liberty Lake Day Camp around 2PM on Monday (Stock photo). Credit: Maskot / Getty

A GoFundMe page set up to support the family poignantly described Michael's resilience and spirit: "Michael came into this world a fighter from the day he was born. He was born as a Micropreemie at 23 weeks and doctors did not expect him to survive. Michael Jeffrey defied the odds and continued to grow into a very intelligent, loving, caring sweet boy. After his fight into the world, this is so tragic that on his first day of camp he would not return home that day."

In a heartfelt letter to parents, camp owner and director Andy Pritikin expressed his condolences: "I am so sorry this happened. We are absolutely devastated and heartbroken. Our thoughts at this most difficult time are with our camper's family, friends, and loved ones—and we are respecting their privacy at this time." He added that this was the first serious incident in over 20 years at the camp and assured that additional safety measures, including a buddy system, would be implemented moving forward.

The ordeal coincides with news that 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.

Featured image credit: Maskot / Getty

Six-year-old boy drowns on his first day at $6,000 summer camp

vt-author-image

By Michelle H

Article saved!Article saved!

A six-year-old boy drowned on his very first day at summer camp, leaving his mother devastated and searching for answers. 

Screenshot 2024-06-27 at 12.58.56.pngCredit: GoFundMe

Michael Stewart, from Lumberton, New Jersey, was discovered unresponsive in a shallow pool at Liberty Lake Day Camp around 2PM on Monday.

Michael, participating in a swim session designed for first and second graders as part of an inclusive program for children with special needs, tragically lost his life on a day meant to be filled with fun and new experiences. 

His grieving mother, Enjoli Stewart, shared her anguish with Fox 29, stating: "Liberty Lakes messed up. Big time. And now I don't have a son anymore. That's heartbreaking."

Despite the camp's assertion that ample staff and lifeguards were on duty, the details of how Michael managed to drown or how long he was underwater remain unclear. Michael had just begun his summer break, eagerly joining the camp's activities, when the unthinkable occurred. A lifeguard spotted him, pulled him out, and administered CPR, but tragically, Michael passed away at the hospital.

Liberty Lake Day Camp reported that during the incident, the pool was supervised by a group leader, two counselors, three adult advocates—one specifically assigned to Michael—and four lifeguards. 

Yet, the mystery of how Michael drowned persists. Despite the tragedy, the camp resumed normal operations and reopened the pool on Thursday.

GettyImages-1668003710.jpgMichael Stewart, from Lumberton, New Jersey, was discovered unresponsive in a shallow pool at Liberty Lake Day Camp around 2PM on Monday (Stock photo). Credit: Maskot / Getty

A GoFundMe page set up to support the family poignantly described Michael's resilience and spirit: "Michael came into this world a fighter from the day he was born. He was born as a Micropreemie at 23 weeks and doctors did not expect him to survive. Michael Jeffrey defied the odds and continued to grow into a very intelligent, loving, caring sweet boy. After his fight into the world, this is so tragic that on his first day of camp he would not return home that day."

In a heartfelt letter to parents, camp owner and director Andy Pritikin expressed his condolences: "I am so sorry this happened. We are absolutely devastated and heartbroken. Our thoughts at this most difficult time are with our camper's family, friends, and loved ones—and we are respecting their privacy at this time." He added that this was the first serious incident in over 20 years at the camp and assured that additional safety measures, including a buddy system, would be implemented moving forward.

The ordeal coincides with news that 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.

Featured image credit: Maskot / Getty