Lewiston Middle School student who drowned on field trip identified

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Kaylani Castillo holds a sign at a morning display at the Lewiston Middle School remembering her classmate who drowned Tuesday at Range Pond State Park in Poland on a field trip. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

About Rayan Issa

POLAND — The Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office has identified the 13-year-old boy from Lewiston Middle School who died Tuesday at Range Pond State Park.

Rayan A. Issa, 13, pictured in the 2018 Lewiston Middle School yearbook. (Lewiston School Department) 

Rayan A. Issa of Lewiston, a seventh-grade student at the school, drowned Tuesday while on a school field trip,  according to a release from Chief Deputy William Gagne.

The seventh-grader was missing underwater for at least half an hour.

Gagne said police received a 911 call at 11:47 a.m., reporting a student missing.

“Preliminary investigation indicates the boy was playing in the water with friends within the buoyed swimming area when he went under,” Gagne said Tuesday.

Emergency crews from the sheriff’s office, Maine Warden Service, Poland Fire-Rescue and the Auburn and Greene fire departments, both with boats, responded to the state park.

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They found him at 12:17 p.m., still within the buoyed swim area, took him to shore and tried to resuscitate him.

An ambulance crew tried to revive the boy on the way to the hospital, Lewiston Superintendent Bill Webster said. “He was declared dead at the hospital.”

The student went underwater while playing football with friends, Webster said.

“My understanding is he did not hit his head,” Webster said. “One question I do not have a good answer for is what was the depth within that safety swimming area, because if it was 6 feet, that’s too much.”

He said the 113 students on the seventh-grade outing were accompanied by 11 chaperones and one lifeguard.

Indications are the boy might not have known how to swim.

Lewiston Middle School Principal Jana Mates and Assistant Principal Eric Anderson met with the boy’s grieving parents at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.

“We have spoken with the boy’s parents, but no words are sufficient,” Webster said.

A vigil to honor “a life lost too soon” will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Lewiston Middle School, Webster tweeted Tuesday night. “Please join us to honor this life and support our students, staff, parents, and community,” Webster said.

As part of the investigation, anyone who was at Range Pond on Tuesday and witnessed all or part of the incident is asked to contact the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office at (207) 753-2599.

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