Teen Drowns at Summer Camp

By: Stacy Eckes
By: Stacy Eckes

A trip to summer camp in Portage County turns tragic for a teenager from Milwaukee. The victim's family says his death could have been prevented.

Thirteen-year-old Richard Wilder drowned this weekend at Camp Helen Brachman in the Town of Belmont. He was taking part in a submerged canoe race with three other campers.

Investigators say contrary to state law, there were no life jackets in the canoe.

"They didn't have life vests on these kids. You have to have life vests on these children in order to prevent these tragedies," said Roger Carson, the victim's brother.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal is reporting that Richard took a camp swim test that restricted him to swimming only in water up to three feet deep.

The director at Camp Helen Brachman issued a statement.

"The Camp Helen Brachman Staff and camper community grieves with the family for the loss of a camper in a canoeing accident on July 26, 2002. We are doing everything we can to support the family at this time."

The state Department of Natural Resources is investigating the drowning.