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Boy drowns at Seaboard water treatment facility

Posted March 17, 2012

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— A 12-year-old Garyburg boy drowned Friday after falling into a holding pond for treated waste water at a water treatment facility on Williams Street in Seabord, authorities said.

According to the Seaboard Police Department, about 14 kids were playing near the facility Friday afternoon after entering through an open gate. When Labrone Wade slipped on the black lining surrounding the pond and fell into the water, which is 8 to 10 feet deep, three other children jumped in to try and save him.

When that didn't work, they held out a stick for him to grab, said Wade's stepfather, Donald Phillips, but a water pump in the pond created a strong current that tugged Wade away from his friends.

"As the kids were trying to pull him another way, the pump was pulling him another way," Phillips said Saturday. "He just got to the point where he got tired and ended up letting go. He fought as long as he could."

The three children who jumped into the holding pond were all taken to the hospital by their parents as a precaution.

Donald Phillips Family: Drowned Northampton boy was loving

Seaboard police, Northhampton County EMS and other search and rescue squads looked for the Wade’s body from about 6 to 11 p.m. Friday night and began looking again at 8 a.m. Saturday. They found it around 11:30 a.m.

Wade was a sixth grader at Gaston Middle School. His mother, Stephanie Wade, said her son fell in while trying to save a girl from slipping into the water.

"She (almost) fell in, but he caught her," Stephanie Wade said. "When he caught her, that's when he slipped and fell in." 

Her son didn't know how to swim, she said.

"He just tried to save somebody else's life and ended up losing his," Phillips said. "I just hope everybody that knew him remembers the same smile and remembers the loving way he was."

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  • alishapeele Mar 22, 10:07 a.m.

    I was born and raised in Rich Square NC and I agree with northampton girl. Public Pools should be opened for kids and have some kind of program where kids can go and be taught how to swim. I am an african american woman and I didn't learn how to swim until I was 31 yrs old when I moved to Houston Tx. My daughter go to school here in Houston and they do have pools and they teach the kids how to swim DURING school hours! My daughter learned to swim when she 8 years old..It is important every child should have the opportunity to learn to swim, Its not only good exercise but it can save someone else life or your own. RIP CHild....

  • Concerned252 Mar 20, 11:16 a.m.

    There are no public pools in the entire county where parents can take their children to learn how to swim. Most of the African American parents do not know how to swim themselves. Who will teach them? No pools at either of the high schools. More teacher workdays and spring/summer vacations are coming, I urge the county to invest in avenues to help provide options for parents to make sure their children are safe while they are working.

  • Vietnam Vet Mar 19, 7:47 p.m.

    Parents NEED to teach their kids to swim! And as early as possible! My sincere condolences to the family. Such a tragedy!

  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Mar 19, 1:29 p.m.

    What a tragedy! My condolences to the family. Parents teach your kids about going into dangerous zones including around their neighborhood. That is your responsibility to inform them. Most of all none them had any business being there. May others learn from this.

  • ncdixie1 Mar 19, 9:59 a.m.

    God bless the family and the friends who tried to help. Sad

  • anneonymousone Mar 19, 9:44 a.m.

    How terribly sad for everyone. It is my hope that there is a lot of support for this young man's friends and family, those who witnessed this horrid event, and rescue personnel.

  • Country Girlz Have MORE fun Mar 19, 9:09 a.m.

    To kids this looks like a pond. I watched the video and didn't see the signs that were talked about either. Was there a fence?

  • BobLoblaw Mar 19, 8:56 a.m.

    What a terrible tragedy for this family and for the children involved. Prayers for this young boy and his family.