A 13-year-old boy was hospitalized Monday after he was pulled from the bottom of a pool at a school band "end-of-the-year" swim party in Murrieta last week.
"I just looked back and I just heard people saying, 'He's drowning,'" Toyo Kodama, a student, said. "It was really, really scary."
Alex Pierce, a 7th grade student at Dorothy Mcelhinney Middle School, was one of nearly 100 students attending a school-sponsored pool party at Vista Murrieta High on Friday, Murrieta police said.
It was 6 p.m. when students saw Pierce floating underwater at the bottom of the pool, police said.
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High school student lifeguards rushed to pull him from the water, placing him on a floating backboard, and called 911 immediately.
Paramedics from Murrieta Fire arrived within four minutes of the call, and performed CPR before taking Pierce to Inland Valley Hospital. Surveillance footage showed he was under for about 95 seconds before he was rescued.
The party, chaperoned by parents and teachers, was organized by the choir booster club and band.
"At this time, Murrieta police have determined there is no criminal culpability and the incident appears to be an accidental drowning," Murrieta police said in a news release.
Pierce was airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center for specialized treatment, police said. He was in critical condition Monday.
Detectives have reviewed surveillance footage during the time of the near drowning and saw no horse play or inappropriate behavior. They believe he may have floated too far to into the deep end of the pool and was unable to stand up, but are still investigating.
"It just kind of reaches out to your heart as a mom, as a parent, as close-knit as this community is," Judy Payne, the parent of a student who attends the school, said.
The parents of Alex have asked for privacy. Those who wish to contribute to a GoFundMe to help pay for Alex's medical expenses can find the link here.