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Tragedy strikes at Fourth of July celebration

POSTED July 7, 2017 12:26 p.m.

A 7-year-old boy drowned Tuesday night during a family get together for an Independence Day celebration.

The deceased was identified as Juan Mendoza-Ruiz.

The drowning happened at a home in the 300 block of East Fifth Street in Crows Landing.

The young boy fell into the pool unnoticed around 9:30 p.m. and several minutes passed before a family member spotted him, according to the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department.

The boy was pulled from the water and CPR was started while someone else called 911. Emergency responders rushed the boy to a Modesto area hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

An autopsy has been scheduled, but the sheriff's department reported there were no signs of foul play.

According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, an average of 10 people die every day from drowning, with children under the age of 14 accounting for two of the deaths each day.

Drowning does not necessarily look like what most people would expect it to look like and can be deceptively quiet. Dr. Francesco Pia coined the term The Instinctive Drowning Response in a 2006 article for the U.S. Coast Guard's "On Scene" magazine. In the article, Dr. Pia describes the response as such:

"Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled, before speech occurs.

"Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.

"Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water, permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.

"Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.

 "From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs."

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