National News

Camp where 5-year-old drowned operated without license, being shut down

Posted July 25

— The camp where a 5-year-old drowned was found to be operating without a license and is being shut down, according to officials.

The parents of the 5-year-old who drowned while attending the day camp in south Fulton County are speaking to the public about the importance of supervisors providing information to families on all activities their children will be participating in.

Benjamin 'Kamau' Hosch III drowned Friday while attending Camp Cricket, which is a day camp held at Cochran Mill Nature Center near Atlanta.

According to law officials, the children were taken for lunch near the waterfall and rock ledge, and they were allowed -- without parental consent -- to slide on the waterfall and swim.

Kamau couldn't swim, and he was missing for up to 45 minutes.

Cochran Mill Nature Center staffers didn't even realize he was missing until it was time to hike back to the Nature Center facility.

Fire Department personnel informed the family that Kamau was submerged in a small pond for up to 20 minutes.

Kamau's parents would not have allowed him to slide on a waterfall or swim without his life jacket.

The family was additionally shocked that neither the director nor any staff of Cochran Mill Nature Center, one of the largest nature preserves in Georgia, called to inform them of Kamau's death or to express any remorse.

The family learned of his death from members of law enforcement.

The family is represented by 2016 Georgia attorney of the year L. Chris Stewart of Stewart, Seay & Felton Trial Attorneys.

Stewart wants to know why Cochran Mill Nature Center left a 5-year-old child unattended for up to 45 minutes.

Stewart also wants to know why the facility would deviate from its planned itinerary without informing parents or getting their permission.

The family intends to file a lawsuit against all responsible parties in the hopes that no other parent suffers such an avoidable tragedy.

Statement from Cochran Mill Nature Center

The Board, Staff and Volunteers of the Cochran Mill Nature Center are heartbroken and distraught over this tragedy.

On Friday, July 21, a group of 13 children attended day camp at Cochran Mill Nature Center. This small group of children, supervised by 4 adults, walked down a nearby trail for a lunch outing. Following lunch, the children were allowed to splash in a shallow adjacent creek. When the group gathered to leave the creek, the adults realized that one child was missing. The child was found a short distance away in a pool of water in an area that had not been visited by the group. CPR was administered and the child was transported by EMS to the hospital.

Cochran Mill Nature Center has hosted summer camps and other outings for children of all ages for 23 years. The camps focus is on nature and the outdoors. Thousands of children have attended the camps over the years without incident except for minor scrapes, bumps and bruises. In 2016, over 15,000 children visited.

Cochran Mill is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help injured wild animals and provide educational tours and camps for children.

Please Note: According to Press reports, a lawsuit is being filed against the camp. The Board, Staff and Volunteers have been advised to submit no further comments at this time.

Copyright 2017 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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