LAKEVILLE — A 12-year-old Pickerington boy drowned Wednesday at the Round Lake Christian Camp.
Ashland County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Carl Richert said a dive team recovered the body of Melvin Aborbie, a Diley Middle School student, at 5:23 p.m., and the Ashland County coroner pronounced him dead on the scene, about 80 miles north of Columbus.
Richert said lifeguards were on duty at the camp when Aborbie jumped into the water.
“They saw him go into the water, but did not see him come back up,” Richert said. “They went into action after he did not return to the surface after he went in.”
Jenny Taylor, an Ashland County Coroner’s investigator, confirmed drowning as the cause of death. She said the Coroner is still investigating the death.
“My understanding is they were taking a swimming test,” Taylor said. “He was given a thumbs up that it was time to go for his swimming test. He then jumped in, but did not resurface and lifeguards jumped in.”
Lance Powers, the camp’s manager, wrote a statement posted on the camp’s Facebook page.
“We regret to inform you that a drowning occurred at the camp, on the lodge side, this afternoon,” Powers said. “We are cooperating with local authorities in the investigation. We appreciate your prayers for the family of the camper and for the camp.
“The staff and volunteers of Round Lake Christian Camp grieve for and with the family for their loss. The families of our other campers have being contacted and informed of the situation. We will keep the community updated as more information becomes available.” When reached by phone Wednesday night, Powers referred questions to the statement.
“Our staff is grieving with the family. It’s a tragic situation,” Powers said.
In addition to the sheriff’s office and the coroner, Richert said, the Western Holmes Fire District, Jeromesville Fire Department and Loudonville Fire Deparment also responded to the scene. The initial call came in at 3:58 p.m., Richert said.
The church camp is near state Routes 3 and 179 on the Ashland-Holmes county line.