Fund launched to help family of 5-year-old boy who died in possible drowning at Pulaski County YMCA

The incident happened at about 2:30 p.m. Monday

The Pulaski County community is mourning the sudden death of a 5-year-old boy who died of an apparent drowning.

PULASKI COUNTY, Va. – Pulaski County Public Schools has established a fund to help a family dealing with the death of a 5-year-old boy.

On Monday at 2:30 p.m. members of the Pulaski Police Department, Pulaski Fire Department, and Pulaski County Public Safety responded to a call of report of a possible drowning at the YMCA, according to police.

First responders arrived to find a 5-year-old boy who was unresponsive.

After being transported to Lewis Gale Pulaski and later airlifted to Roanoke Memorial Hospital, at 10:15 p.m., the child died.

The YMCA issued a statement saying that at about 2:30 p.m. on Monday, one of its lifeguards and other staff members came to the aid of the boy who was unresponsive in the swimming pool. Officials said YMCA staff immediately began using CPR while 911 was called.

On Tuesday, Pulaski County Public Schools have shared that Auston Wingo, who attended kindergarten at Critzer Elementary School, is the boy who died.

The school started the Auston Wingo Memorial Fund to help the family with expenses.

Anyone interested in contributing can donate online by clicking here or sending a check made payable to Critzer Elementary School with “Auston Wingo Memorial Fund” in the memo line to:

Critzer Elementary School

100 Critzer Drive

Pulaski, VA 24301

Below is the full statement from the school division:

Pulaski County Public Schools and Critzer Elementary School have been devastated by the loss of Auston Wingo on December 6, 2021. Auston was a kindhearted kid who exhibited unshakable optimism and an incredible love for his family, especially his older sister Tatyana. He will be missed far beyond what words can convey.

Below is the full statement from the YMCA:

At approximately 2:30 p.m. on December 6, our lifeguard and YMCA staff came to the aid of a 5-year-old boy who was unresponsive in our swimming pool. Our YMCA staff immediately began CPR, while 911 was called.

We were heartbroken to learn that the child passed away last night at the hospital. Everyone at the YMCA of Pulaski County is deeply saddened by this situation, and our thoughts and prayers are with this young boy and his family and friends. We are preparing to have counselors available to staff and participants to help process this tragedy.

Making sure all children and adults are safe in and around water is a top priority. In addition to cooperating with external investigators, we will conduct an internal review to learn the facts about what happened and to ensure our water safety policies align with best-in-class practices and procedures.


About the Authors:

Annie Schroeder joined the 10 News team as a reporter in June 2020 and is no stranger to Southwest Virginia.

Kamryn Buza joined 10 News as an intern in September 2021.