13-Year-Old Boy Dies After Jumping Into River to Cool Off

The lure of diving into a cold body of water on a sweltering summer day is obvious, but one teen didn't realize how dangerous it would be if he took a quick dip to cool off. Erickson Villa, 13, and his two cousins reportedly jumped into the Bronx River on a hot day because they thought it would be fun. Sadly, the teen drowned and his cousin remains in critical condition.


Neither Villa, nor cousin Gavin Wellington -- who is also 13 -- reportedly knew how to swim. Their bodies were pulled by Fire Department divers about an hour after they jumped into the water and Villa was reportedly "unresponsive" when he was finally found and rescued.

A friend of theirs says the boys were playing basketball and that six of them then walked over to the river and announced that they wanted to jump in. Apparently, everyone was aware of the fact that the two cousins couldn't swim, and the friend says he doesn't know why they went into the water.

It's very likely these kids were unaware of the dangers of jumping into a river that has strong currents and can drag even the strongest of swimmers down in minutes. Even if they did know how to swim, they shouldn't have been playing in or around the river.

But this horrible story also reminds us, especially as summer begins, that it's important for parents to teach their children how to swim. Drowning is the fifth cause of intentional injury death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And two out of every 10 people who die from drowning each day are aged 14 or younger. It's a frightening fact.

Our hearts go out to Villa's grieving family, and we hope Wellington will recover quickly.

Do your children know how to swim?


Image via Emily Anne Epstein/Corbis

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