Orange County, September 1998

Girl, 11, trapped underwater by pool drain, dies

An 11-year-old girl trapped underwater for 25 minutes after her leg was caught in a Swimming pool drain died Saturday afternoon.

Kelsey Ruwe had been in critical condition since being taken to Children’s Mercy-Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., on Thursday after officials finally freed her leg, caught up to her calf the bend of the drain pipe.

Lifeguards and firefighters took turns giving her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation while desperately trying to free her from 4 feet of water. Later they used a garden hose in an attempt to get oxygen to her.

"There were seven guys pulling her, only trying to move her a few inches, and they couldn’t," Sgt. Tim Witcig said. Kelsey and a friend had been flipping coins to the bottom of the pool, then diving in to retrieve them. One of the coins fell through a grate and into the drain.

When the girls picked up the grate, Ruwe stuck her foot in to try to scoop up the coin but it got jammed in the 4-inch drain.

The pressure of the draining water pulled her leg deeper into the drain.

The pool’s pump was turned off, but firemen couldn’t budge the trapped leg. Firefighters managed to reverse the pressure by hooking up a hose and pumping water out.



Orange County, September 1998 Archive page 11





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