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Authorities investigating after 7-year-old boy drowns in recreation center pool

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Posted at 4:11 PM, Jul 06, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-07 17:38:35-04

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah — A 7-year-old boy drowned Sunday afternoon at the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center.

Officials on scene told FOX 13 News the incident began around 2:30 p.m.

Between 300 and 500 people were at the pool at the time.

The 7-year-old child, Sacir Mehanovic, was at the recreation center with family.

He was pulled from the middle of the pool which ranges from 6 feet to 12 feet deep.

Witnesses had conflicting reports regarding whether the boy jumped in or fell.

Sgt. Corbett Ford of the Cottonwood Heights Police Department said the lifeguards did a “great job” in doing what they were trained to do and he said they worked diligently to save the boy.

"There were two nurses that were off duty from emergency rooms that were able to assist the lifeguards and said they did a fantastic job, they did everything they were supposed to do with their protocols," Ford said.

There were 18 lifeguards on duty at the time.

Most of them are high school and college students, who train rigorously throughout the year, specifically for these very emergencies.

"This is tragic, nobody feels worse than the lifeguards that were on duty," Mike Peterson said, director of the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center. "I met with most of them, they are traumatized, they are concerned, they are worried."

The boy was rushed to the hospital where he later died.

"Our hearts go out to the family, no one deserves to go through this, this young family who lost a child doesn't deserve to go through it, these guards that had to witness it shouldn't have to go through it," Peterson said. "It's just a horrible situation and we pride ourselves in doing all we can to never have it happen and now we need to deal with it. That's the most important thing. How we move on from now."

Witnesses told FOX 13 News they were concerned about the length of time it took officials to respond.

Officials with the Cottonwood Heights Police Department said police units responded in about two and a half minutes but they couldn't comment on the EMT response time.