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Teen in critical condition after rescue from waters of Lake Washington

The incident unfolded at a dock used by Sail Sand Point to teach kids how to operate a small sailboat. (KOMO photo)

SEATTLE - A teen is in critical condition after he was pulled from Lake Washington in a Monday morning water rescue, emergency officials said.

Kristen Tinsley with the Seattle Fire Department says the incident unfolded at about 9:30 a.m. near the dock at Sand Point, in the 7800 block of 62nd Avenue NE.

The 17-year-old boy was taking a water test as part of a YouthCare Seattle boating program with Sail Sand Point when he went under and did not return to the surface, she said. Instructors and volunteers then dove in to look for him, along with a Seattle police officer who quickly arrived on scene.

Witnesses said the youth was underwater for about six minutes before an instructor or volunteer with the program could find him and pull him to the surface and up onto the dock. Emergency personnel with the Seattle Fire Department then arrived and started CPR, said Battalion Chief Benjamin Haskell.

The teen was then rushed to Seattle Children's Hospital in critical condition, Tinsley said.

Haskell said the teen did not have a pulse when he was first pulled from the water, but he regained a pulse after CPR was administrered. He said six minutes submerged in water is a "survivable time frame."

Mary Anne Ward, executive director of Sail Sand Point, said about 2,000 children take part in the sailboating program every year, and all of them take the water test before going out in one of the program's boats. The test involves getting into the water and putting on a life jacket.

This is the first time there has been a serious injury in the history of the program, she said.

"This is just a horrible day for us and for everyone that’s involved," Ward said. "But for the team that rescued him, these are just outstanding young men who did a great job, and I couldn’t be happier or prouder about them."

She said program leaders will dissect the incident "and see if there’s any way we could have done anything better."

"My heart goes out to his family, it goes out to everyone who’s involved in that program, to everyone who’s going to be touched by this. My heart just breaks for them," she said.

All remaining sailboating programs for the day have been canceled.

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