Officials determine drowning at Morganton hotel to be accidental

MORGANTON, N.C. — Dozens of children and families filled the ball fields Sunday in Morganton for a youth baseball tournament, but shock waves were still being felt through the community after Morganton city officials said a 6-year-old boy drowned at the indoor pool at the Comfort Inn and Suites Saturday night.

"Today, we're loving on each other out here,” said tournament organizer Joshua Simmons, vice president of Mountain Sports. “I've seen teams that didn't know this child praying for this family."

The boy and his family are from western North Carolina and were in town for the baseball tournament.

Investigators said the boy was found underwater at the hotel on Burkemont Avenue between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. Saturday. Emergency responders took him to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Authorities said the investigation revealed that the drowning was accidental and happened while the boy was swimming with friends and family. Investigators said he was moving along the side of the pool, holding onto the edge in the deeper end of the pool, when his hand slipped.

Police reports said that the boy's father told officers the child did not know how to swim and was told to stay near the shallow end. After about 10 minutes, the family noticed the boy was missing and he was pulled from the water and adults performed CPR.

Authorities said they believe he was a sibling of a player in the tournament.

Officials with the tournament said that player's team left early, but the tournament continued for others.

Simmons said they are using baseball to work through the tragedy.

"I think when something like this happens, you understand that life is very short,” Simmons said. “It's very important that you know where your heart is and that's what we try to do through baseball."

Simmons said he has been impressed by the outpouring of support.

“A lot of people here may not have known this child, but that didn't stop them this morning from caring about this family or praying for this family or asking what they could do,” Simmons said.

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