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Group home resident drowns after jumping into pool, officials say

A man with autism drowned Tuesday in a pool next door to the group home where he lived in Plandome, officials said.

The man, 22, who scaled a 6-foot fence and jumped into the pool, was overcome by the water before staff members could reach him, according to Marcia Spector of the Mental Health Association of Nassau County.

At about 4 p.m., Nassau police said they were called to the group home on The Ter to respond to a report of a possible drowning, but could provide no further details Tuesday night.

Spector said the man who died was in the group home’s outdoor playground with other residents and staff when he suddenly leapt over the fence.

“The staff ran after him, but they couldn’t scale the fence, so they ran around it and jumped into the pool,” she said. “They performed CPR, and he was alive when the ambulance came.”

Spector, interim executive director of the Hempstead-based Mental Health Association, which operates the home, said the staff was shocked to learn that the resident died.

“It’s terrible,” she said. “We’re all speechless with grief and our hearts go out to his family. Our very dedicated staff did everything they could.”

It was unclear which hospital the victim was taken to. He was pronounced dead about 5 p.m. at the hospital.

The Mental Health Association maintains group residences in East Meadow, Westbury, Bethpage and Plandome. The nonprofit says it is “dedicated to improving mental health through advocacy, education, program development and the delivery of direct services.”


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