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Parents of Autistic Boy Who Drowned in Pennsylvania Water Park File Wrongful-Death Lawsuit Over Alleged Improper Lifeguard Training

— July 5, 2017

The parents of a young boy who drowned in a Pennsylvania water park are filing a wrongful-death lawsuit against the center, claiming that the on-duty staff were improperly trained.

Mohamad and Fadma Boudriss, of Lebanon County, PA were critical of the Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, PA, after their 8-year old son was found limp and floating in the shallow end of the park’s Crystal Pool last July.

The couple say that even when help was requested, it was slow to arrive. An on-duty lifeguard performed CPR and requested and automated external defibrillator at least three times. Despite the pleas for medical equipment and assistance, none arrived quickly enough to save the child.

Yassin Boudriss was declared dead at a nearby hospital.

The county coroner, Scott Lynn, ruled drowning to be Yassin’s cause of death after some delay. Lynn had sought to perform toxicology tests after an initial investigation on what outstanding factors may have contributed to the boy’s death came back inconclusive. The coroner speculated that Yassin’s autism may have been the overriding factor, considering that he had been in an area considered safe for children his size.

Entrance to Knoebels Amusement Resort
The entrance to Knoebels Amusement Resort, where 8-year old Yassin Boudriss was found limp in the shallow end of a pool. Image courtesy of

The 8-year old boy was found floating in less than three-feet of water. He showed no signs of distress and should have been able to stand in the shallow pool without much difficulty.

Shortly after the incident, Knoebels Amusement Resort provided a statement explaining their take on the circumstances.

“A young boy was fund unresponsive by a lifeguard who immediately initiated emergency care,” the statement read. “The Knoebel family and team members had been hoping and praying for the best possible outcome, but are saddened to have learned from local authorities that the young boy has passed away. Please join us in keeping the boy’s family in your prayers.”

The lawsuit initiated by Mohamad and Fadma Boudriss focuses on the safety precautions and safety training of the park attendants and lifeguards, contending that they weren’t properly equipped or trained to deal with a potentially life-threatening emergency.

According to PennLive, the couple are seeking ‘unspecified damages in excess of $50,000 on wrongful death, negligent infliction of emotional distress and loss of consortium claims.’

A spokeswoman for Knoebels Amusement Resort, Stacy Ososkie, said the park doesn’t comment on pending litigation.


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