UPDATED 06/13/12 11:21 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Family and friends are mourning after an 8th grade graduation celebration turned tragic at North Avenue Beach, when a 14-year-old boy drowned while swimming with friends.
As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, lifeguards tried to save Jorge Sosa, of the 3500 block of West 72nd Street. But it was too late.
Jorge had just graduated on Monday from Tarkington School of Excellence, 3300 W. 71st St., and he and three of his closes friends went to the beach Monday to celebrate the milestone. It was their first time at the North Avenue Beach.
But something went terribly wrong. And while Jorge would have been stopping by the school to pick up his yearbook Tuesday morning, instead, his classmates and teachers are devastated to learn he drowned.
“They went to the beach as four; came back as three,” said Joyce Morris, whose grandson was with Jorge at the beach. The two were childhood best friends.
“They went swimming, he went out too far, and the current took him away,” Morris said.
Eyewitnesses said Jorge had been swimming near a rowboat when he went under, and was pulled to shore by lifeguards.
Ezra Moalem, who was visiting from Israel, watched as lifeguards pulled the boy from the water.
“It’s crazy,” Moalem told CBS 2’s Brad Edwards.
Eyewitnesses said lifeguards and paramedics attempted CPR for several minutes before Jorge was put in an ambulance.
“They were doing CPR for a long time. You know, it was probably … 5 or 10 minutes before the paramedics got to him, and then they continued doing CPR and defibrillator-ed him,” said eyewitness Rebecca Clifford. “It was intense; really sad. You know, my heart goes out to him.”
Jorge was rushed to Lurie Children’s Hospital, where he died.
One day earlier, his principal remembers handing him his diploma.
“I shook his hand, congratulated him, gave him a hug, and unfortunately, this is terrible news,” said Tarkington principal Vincent Iturralde.
Jorge volunteered as a soccer coach at the school.
“A lot of kids knew him from the younger grades, as well as older kids – g his classmates,” Iturralde said. “He’s going to be very, very missed.”
“Everyone loved Jorge,” Morris added tearfully. “We’re going to miss Jorge, because we knew Jorgie when he was little, and they all went to the same school. “I miss him a lot.”
Friends and neighbors say Jorge leaves behind a single father and five sisters.
Grief counselors are available at the school Tuesday to talk with teachers and students.