Starlight Park Tragedy As Teen Drowns - Second in Critical Condition
Erickson Villa, 13, and his cousin Wellington Gavin, 13, jumped in the Bronx River at Starlight Park around 3:10 p.m. Another teenager ran up into Starlight Park and told a park worker who called 911 when they didn't surface. Wellington was pulled from the water after a 15-minute search, while Erickson Villa was found about an hour later.
The section of the river and the park where the teenagers chose to swim is posted with warning signs against swimming and boating.
A 13-year-old boy drowned and his cousin was clinging to life Friday after a whimsical jump into the Bronx River turned tragic, authorities said, according to the NY Daily News.
Erickson Villa and his cousin, both students at the nearby Herman Ridder Intermediate School, were hanging out with pals on a dock in Starlight Park near E. 172nd St. when they leapt into the river about 3:10 p.m., officials said.
The water is shallow around the dock, but it deepens quickly, cops said. Neither boy could swim. Park workers called 911 when the boys didn’t surface. Emergency responders pulled one cousin out after a 15-minute search and rushed him to St. Barnabas Hospital in critical condition.
Villa was pulled from the water about an hour later, at 4:25 p.m., officials said. His shirtless body appeared limp as he also was rushed to St. Barnabas.
“It was some young kids, enjoying the weather, going for a swim,” said Deputy Fire Chief Anthony Montera, who helped supervise the rescue effort.
Villa’s neighbors on Southern Blvd., where the teen lived for two years, were stunned by his death.
“It’s a sad loss,” said Manuel Soto. “Hopefully this won’t happen to any other children in the neighborhood.”