Two boys who drowned in a public swimming pool in Pella Wednesday night should not have been allowed in the pool according to waivers signed by the their parents. The two teens from Kansas City were with a group of 175 boys attending a Fellowship of Christian Athletes sports camp.
FCA spokesperson Tom Rogeberg says the tragedy could’ve been prevented, but camp counselors left behind waivers signed by parents of the campers. “The parents of both of these young children, we discovered, had indicated on the forms that they were non-swimmers,” Rogeberg told Radio Iowa.
The FCA group had reserved the Pella Aquatic Center from 8 to 9:30 p.m. The boys, ages 14 and 15, were discovered at the bottom of the pool after life guards blew whistles to close the pool for the night. When counselors discovered they did not have the waivers, Rogeberg says they asked each camper if he could swim.
“Reportedly both of these boys confirmed that they could swim, so they were allowed to,” Rogeberg said. Preliminary autopsy results show the boys died of “accidental drowning.” Rogeberg says, in the future, camp counselors will be required to have those parental waivers on hand before allowing campers to participate in activities such as swimming.
“We do admit that it was wrong to not have taken those forms to the site,” Rogeberg said. The boys who died are identified as 14-year-old Gael Paulettee and 15-year-old Nehmson Sanon. Around a dozen lifeguards hired by the City of Pella and 20 camp counselors were watching the 175 boys swimming in the pool Wednesday night.