Family of 6-year-old boy pulled from pool during swim lesson speaks out

A 6-year-old boy who just finished kindergarten was found at the bottom of the pool Thursday during a swimming lesson, his grandfather said.

Niguel Hamilton was one of about four children in the indoor pool at the Lohrey Recreation Center in Dayton, Willie Hamilton said. Now he is on life support at Dayton Children’s Hospital.

RELATED: Child pulled from bottom of Dayton city pool, underwater at least 4 minutes

“He’s happy, full of life, loving, smart,” his grandfather said. “Niguel is a good kid. He is a loving kid. Everybody who meets Niguel loves him.”

About to enter the first grade, later this month Niguel is supposed to earn his yellow belt in karate, Hamilton said.

The last thing Hamilton remembers of Niguel’s swim lesson is that he saw him with his class in the deep end, and that Niguel, who is 6 but small for his age, had just gone off the diving board with his instructor’s assistance.

Shortly after that, a lifeguard said they didn’t see Niguel in the water and asked if he had seen him, whether he had gone to the restroom.

“I got up, went to the bathroom and looked around and couldn’t find him,” Hamilton said.

The lifeguards then got everyone out of the pool and searched again, in vain.

Hamilton said he went outside to check for him, but that when he returned he learned they found him at the bottom of the pool.

“They got him out, started CPR on him and they could never get a pulse or nothing like that on him,” he said.

Hamilton said he feels guilty, and wishes he had been watching his grandson more closely during his lesson.

A 911 caller told dispatchers the child had been in the water for about 4 minutes, but Hamilton said he thinks his grandson had been underwater for between 10 and 15 minutes.

At Dayton Children’s Hospital, Hamilton said Niguel was pronounced dead. They asked the family to come say goodbye, when all of a sudden his heart started to beat.

“Right now they’re saying he’s brain dead … they’ve got a breathing tube. We’re just praying and hoping that he comes through,” Hamilton said.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to

About the Author