• U.S.

Texas Teenager Suffers ‘Serious Internal Injuries’ After Being Sucked Into Water Park Intake Pump

2 minute read

A Texas teen is in a critical condition following a freak accident at a water park that authorities said might have been caused by a dare gone wrong.

On Wednesday, Galveston County Sheriff Henry Trochesset told local news outlet KTRK that a 14-year-old, later identified by family and friends as Caden Strimple, was in the hospital with “serious internal injuries” after he was sucked into a drain in a pool at Fun Town Water Park in Crystal Beach, Texas on Saturday.

Trochesset said the accident occurred after Caden picked up up a grate placed on top of an underwater intake pump. “From my understanding, it might have been on a dare,” he added.

The teen was submerged in three feet of water until a friend noticed, and told someone at the park to shut the pump. The sheriff said that, despite the pump being shut off, Caden remained stuck. “Even after they turned the pump off, there was still a suction keeping him down,” Trochesset told KHOU.

Caden is currently being treated at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. When reached for comment on Friday, the hospital said they could not offer updates on his condition.

A GoFundMe page started by family friend Stephanie Stewart has raised nearly $5,000 to help Caden’s family cover medical expenses. Citing updates from his parents, Stewart said the teen will be in and out of a medically induced coma for the next two weeks and that his “esophagus is detached from his stomach.” According to Stewart, Caden will have “more surgeries in the next few months.”

“There will be many trips to and from the hospital, time off and many necessary medical needs for Caden,” Stewart posted. “All donations will be given to his father to help during this time.”

In a Facebook post, Fun Town Water Park announced they were hosting a fundraiser on behalf of the teen later this month.

“August 26th is the first day of school for the kids of the peninsula and most of the surrounding areas,” the water park posted. “There is a young man, Caden Strimple that is not going to be able to make that first day. There has been a terrible accident that requires numerous surgeries, and a long road to recovery… Sending lots of prayers and love in this difficult time!”

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Write to Gina Martinez at gina.martinez@time.com