I was saddened to hear about the 8-year-old boy who was pulled from Lake Olander on Saturday night and shortly after declared dead.
As details about the incident are slowly coming out, I felt compelled to tell readers about Lake Olander, and how deep it is. To the eye it looks serene and a swimmable body of water. But parts of the lake are deep. The deepest part of the lake is about 30 feet, Erika Buri, park director said.
The park does have a designated swim area near the southwest corner of the lake. The section north of that area is roped off and off limits to swimmers, she said.
Ms. Buri said that although close to shore the depth is shallow, about 10 to 15 feet from the shoreline the water deep enough to be above an adult‘s head. And the depth drop happens quickly.
This is why only a portion of the lake is open for swimming. Sylvania Police Chief William Rhodus said that the boy was pulled from the water north of the restricted area on the west side of the lake, where the lake is deep.
He said that about 4:30 p.m. Saturday, an off-duty Lucas County sheriff’s deputy warned the boy and his friends to stay out of the restricted swim area, which is roped off. Emergency responders received the call about the missing boy at about 6:30 p.m. He was pulled from the lake at 8:25 p.m., and pronounced dead shortly after. The park employs the deputy to patrol the park, and ensure that swimmers do not cross into the unrestricted lake area, Ms. Buri said. She said park officials are unsure where that deputy was patrolling at the time of the incident.
I urge those who swim at Olander Park to please be careful. Accidents happen, even in shallow water. A couple of summers ago my nephew, who at the time was 3, wanted to wade in his family‘s inground pool on an extremely hot summer day. I am a swimmer, and thought ‘I’m here right next to him. What could happen?’
Well he didn‘t just wade; he could not take the heat, jumped in, and just sank to the bottom -- like a rock. It happened so fast, I could not stop him. It was the shallow end, about 3 to 4 feet, but still it just took a second for him to reach the bottom.
Of course I quickly dived in. But I thought to myself, ’what if we were on the deeper side of the pool?‘ I honored an innocent request that could have turned horrific. Because of that incident no children are allowed near my sister’s pool without their life jackets, unless they are older and have taken swimming lessons. The perimeter of the pool is fenced and whenever a young child is inside the fence they have to wear a life jacket and a legal guardian has to be present to watch their child, regardless of age and their swimming expertise. No questions asked. That is the rule.
The Olander Park System is also letting residents know about the local YMCA and JCC of Greater Toledo, which is hosting free water safety sessions and basic swimming lessons for children.