WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) – The Warwick Police Department has confirmed to Eyewitness News that a 6-year-old boy died at the beach at City Park Sunday evening from an apparent accidental drowning.
Warwick Police Lieutenant Joe Petrarca says the young boy went missing at City Park, where there were two lifeguards on duty.
Multiple beach goers told Eyewitness News they saw the little boy being taken out of the water, and he was unresponsive.
“They were carrying him across the shoulder, running,” said Kelly Decarvalho, who was at the beach with her family. “They just grabbed him from the water and ran back to see if they could get a response from him.”
The boy was taken to Kent Hospital where he was pronounced dead, police said.
The search on the beach began after the family reported the boy missing. Zaida Hernandez says a relative told lifeguards they couldn’t find him, and called 911.
“She said he’d been gone for 45 minutes,” Hernandez said. She explained that lifeguards organized a “beach sweep” with volunteers, who formed a line and walked into the water. It was a civilian who found the boy as rescue crews arrived, Hernandez said.
“She pulled him out, and and said ‘we found him!'”
Eyewitnesses said a family member started a fight with one of the lifeguards, apparently blaming him for not saving the little boy.
“She got a little physical with the lifeguard,” Hernandez said, adding that she thought the relative was rightfully upset. “They should have been paying attention to the people in the water, especially the children.”
Decarvalho said the relative took a “swing” at the lifeguard. Warwick Police confirmed two lifeguards were on duty at the time.
Lt. Petrarca said the drowning is being considered an accidental death and no foul play is suspected, but the death is still under investigation.