Family keeps vigil for boy, 9

By Jeffrey Pieters

PLAINVIEW — Susan Mickow chalked up her pang of worry to motherly concern, as she agreed to let her two eldest sons, 9-year-old Mason and 6-year-old Brandon, accompany their school-age child care group to the Plainview City Pool this week.

It was Brandon, who hasn’t yet learned to swim, whom she worried about.

But it was Mason, the far more experienced swimmer, who was the subject of the call she received from the Plainview Police Department on Tuesday.


Mason was found shortly after 2 p.m. Tuesday on the bottom of the pool. He was pulled out after a period as long as two minutes. He reportedly had no pulse, no heartbeat, and he was blue in the face, Susan Mickow said.

He was revived by CPR and taken by medical helicopter to Saint Marys Hospital, where he remains in critical condition in intensive care. He is on a respirator in a semi-comatose state.

Mickow was at her workplace, near Saint Marys, when she received the call.

"I just hung up and I ran" to the hospital, she said.

It’s where she and her husband, Aaron, keep watch now with extended family as company, waiting for signs of hope from Mason.

The family of five includes 3-year-old Parker. They live in Elgin.

See POOL, page A2

At the time she permitted her sons to go on a field trip, arranged by the Plainview-Elgin-Millville Community School, to the community swimming pool Susan Mickow attributed her apprehension to excessive concern.


"We had the feeling there would be lots of supervision," she said. "We were really laid-back about it."

But now, as Mason is in critical condition, on a respirator and in a semi-comastose state, Mickow says she wants to hold her family’s experience up as a cautionary tale to other parents.

"We feel other parents should be aware of the dangers of the pools," she said.

To this moment, Mickow still isn’t sure what happened. There have been conflicting reports regarding how long her son Mason, 9, was underwater Tuesday afternoon; whether he jumped off the diving board, was pushed into the pool or simply sank; whether he was found in the deep or the shallower end of the pool; and whether it was one of the school personnel or a lifeguard, who pulled him out.

"We don’t put blame on anybody," Susan Mickow said. "We know that accidents happen. Until we know for sure what’s happened, we’re not going to be pointing fingers at anybody."

One possible explanation for the incident, the Mickows have learned, is that Mason might have a previously undetected heart condition. It might have been triggered in the water and caused him to sink. All of the family members will be undergoing tests at Mayo Clinic to see whether they share the condition.

The Post-Bulletin did not learn of the incident until Thursday, when Mickow and another parent sent e-mails to the newspaper.

The PEM School District did not respond Thursday to requests for information, and the Plainview Police Department declined for several hours to release any information, saying the incident was under investigation. It later issued a three-sentence news release confirming basic details about the incident.


The swimming pool was closed Thursday, but city officials would not explain a reason for it. The pool is usually open on Thursdays. It is scheduled to reopen at 1 p.m. today, according to a recorded message at the phone number for the pool office.

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