A SCHOOLBOY drowned while on holiday in the US after he slipped from the grasp of a family friend who tried to rescue him.
Assistant deputy coroner Michael Wallbank said it would never be known what caused McKinley William Day, 14, of Speeds Way, Farndon, to get into difficulty at the pool within Beaver River, New York State, last August.
Tragedy struck when McKinley was on holiday with younger brother Mitchell and their mum Lesley while staying with long-time friend Tina Zehr and her husband Kenny.
Kenny took the boys, both pupils at Bishop Heber High School in Malpas, swimming at a pool where they had spent much of their first week known as ‘Double Eddy’ at about 2pm on August 12.
In a read statement, Mr Zehr explained that all three swam to rocks about 100-150 feet away before youngest boy Mitchell decided to swim to the other side of the pool and he followed ‘to keep an eye’ on him.
“We looked back and McKinley was swimming across. I yelled to him ‘Are you all right?’ and he said ‘No’. I told him to swim to shore and he said ‘I can’t’.
“Me and Mitchell jumped in the water to swim towards McKinley. We both made it out to him. I grabbed McKinley and started shoving him towards the shore which was difficult because the water was deep and I was treading water at that time.
“McKinley was talking at first but as I was attempting to get him to shore he was not talking, he was taking water in and staying under water for longer periods of time.
“McKinley went under. Mitchell and I went to where he had touched the bottom to rescue him. I then found McKinley under water and tried to pull him up but I was so tired that I couldn’t lift him.”
Off-duty State Trooper Thomas Wright and his niece Beth, a trained lifeguard, responded to Mr Zehr’s cries for help and together they located McKinley and dragged him to the shore before beginning CPR but to no avail.
Mrs Day, who was present at the inquest along with her ex-husband Adam, told the hearing the son she called ‘McKin’ was a ‘strong swimmer’.
A pathologist found McKinley died of asphyxiation due to drowning. The coroner returned a verdict of accidental death.
The family previously told The Chronicle that McKinley, who was named after Mount McKinley in Alaska, was a keen rugby player, loved watching Cheshire Jets basketball and, like many teenage boys, had posters of Cheryl Cole in his bedroom.