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Tuesday
Nov272012

Community Mourns Student Who Drowned During Swim Class

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MANCHESTER, Conn.) -- A Connecticut community is mourning the loss of a 14-year-old student who drowned in his school's swimming pool while others swam in the pool during a class.

Malvrick Donkor drowned during a swimming class at Manchester High School in Manchester, Conn., Wednesday morning.

Fourteen other students and an instructor were at the pool when Donkor went under water, according to ABC News' New Haven affiliate WTNH-TV. Officials believe the students were in the deep end when Donkor slipped under and went unnoticed for several minutes.

"I was in the pool area talking to one of my friends and I just saw the teacher running towards the deep end," student Duran Smith told WTNH. "He dove in and when he put the kid over his shoulder, he wasn't moving at all."

In a 911 call around 10:30 a.m., a student told the dispatcher, "I'm at Manchester High School. We've had a student that's drowned in the Manchester pool. The P.E. teacher is helping him with CPR right now. We need medical assistance right away."

Shouts can be heard in the background and when the dispatcher asked how long the student had been underwater, the caller said, "I don't know. We just saw him. He's doing CPR on him right now. We have no idea. We need help right now."

It's unclear whether there was a lifeguard on duty.

Donkor was rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. His death was ruled an accidental drowning by Connecticut's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

The talented young soccer player was a recent immigrant from Ghana and had hoped to become a doctor.

Hundreds of students and community members gathered for a vigil Monday night outside the high school to pay tribute to Donkor. They held candles while a choir sang and everyone surrounded a large rock that had been painted the colors of Ghana's flag.

"What happened on Wednesday was a terrible tragedy for Malvrick's family and friends, for those who were present during the emergency, for those who tried to provide help and support for Malvrick, and for the entire school community," school principal Matt Geary wrote in a letter posted to the school's website.

Geary said "many questions remain about this terrible tragedy," but that little information can be shared while the investigation is underway. The school's pool is closed and there will be no swimming lessons for the time being. The swim instructor has been put on administrative leave.

The principal said that support is being provided for students and staff who might need it.

Donkor's family has retained attorney Carlton Hume to represent them. Hume did not respond to a request for comment from ABC News, but told Connecticut newspaper the Journal Inquirer that a lawsuit is probable.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio