Tahoma Junior High 9th-grader pulled unconscious from local lake dies

MAPLE VALLEY, Wash. — A teenage boy who ran into trouble while swimming, sank beneath the surface and was under water for about 40 minutes at a local lake has died.

Emergency responders were able “to get a heartbeat back in the patient before transporting him to a local hospital via Airlift Northwest,” after pulling him from Lake Wilderness in Maple Valley Tuesday, Kent Fire spokesman Kyle Ohashi said.

But a nursing supervisor confirmed the boy had died early Wednesday morning.

Tahoma School District 409 issued the following statement:

"We are extremely saddened to learn that a Tahoma Junior High student died early this morning after a swimming accident yesterday at Lake Wilderness. The family of the 9th-grade boy is requesting privacy at this time.

"The Tahoma staff will be among those attending a special gathering tonight at Olson Mansion, where New Community Church is opening its doors to students, parents and community members who would like to talk about their loss or simply be with others. Counselors from the church and school, as well as youth group leaders and other adults will be available."

It said the gathering is at 7 p.m. Wednesday at 21401 244th Ave. S.E. (across the street diagonally from Tahoma Middle School).

There is a fundraising campaign for the boy's family to help with funeral expenses: http://de.gofund.me/Ritchysfamily

The 911 call was made about 4:38 p.m. Tuesday from the east side of Lake Wilderness, where the teenage boy disappeared while swimming with friends at a private beach in the 25300 block of 232nd Ave. SE., Ohashi said.

An off-duty Kent police officer happened to be there with his family and, after making the 911 call, dove into the lake to search for the teen, Ohashi said. Dive teams later arrived and took over the search.

The dive teams found the teenager in about 30 feet of water. He had been under water for about 40 minutes, Ohashi said.

Medics immediately began performing CPR and were able to get a heartbeat before airlifting the teen to a local hospital.