Review board to look into fatal Bootheel swing set accident

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 ~ Updated 1:11 PM

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- A child fatality review board will convene early next week to look into the death of a Fisk kindergartner who was killed when an unfinished, wooden swing set collapsed on him.

Cobbie Bond, 7-year-old son of Carl and Lana Bond and a kindergartner at Fisk Elementary School, died Sunday night as the result of cranial cerebral injury, according to Butler County Coroner Jim Akers.

Cobbie's cause of death and manner of death, which was "definitely an accident," were determined when an autopsy was done Monday by Dr. Russell Deidiker at Mineral Area Regional Medical Center in Farmington, Akers said.

Required by law, Akers said, the child fatality review board is "not for determining guilt or innocence, (but) to determine if anything can be learned to help prevent further child deaths."

Members of the board, Akers said, will include representatives from the Butler County Health Department and Coroner's Office and any other agencies involved, such as Division of Family Services, hospital and emergency medical services personnel and law enforcement officers.

The board will be looking into what happened just after 6 p.m. Sunday at the Bond residence in the 6700 block of Route B.

"From what I understand, the two older boys were swinging and Cobbie was playing with a punching bag built onto" the swing set, Akers explained.

Cobbie's older brothers, Akers said, heard the cross beam on the swing set, which was supported by A-frames on each end, crack.

"They yelled to run ... get out of the way," Akers said. "They jumped out of the swings, and (Cobbie) took off running straight away. ... The supporting legs, made out of 8 by 10 beams fell and struck him, landing on top of him."

Cobbie's eldest brother, according to Akers, immediately began trying to lift the beam(s) off of him, while their other brother went to the house to get their parents.

Akers said cardiopulmonary resuscitation was started.

Emergency medical services personnel subsequently arrived and transported Cobbie to Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 9:30 p.m.

"The structure failed; the beam across the top split," Akers said. "Other than the dad putting in another bolt or two, it was completed. ... The beam broke; it split apart. (Those last bolts) wouldn't have changed anything."

Akers said Cobbie's dad blames himself for the accident, but the swing set should have "held a lot more weight than that" of the boys.

Although the boys were told to stay off the swing set until it was completed, "these were all-American boys; they just want to play outside on their new swing set," Akers said.

Even in this tragedy, Akers said, Cobbie's parents are trying to give to others by donating several of his organs to others.

The family, according to Akers, is new to the area and is in need of assistance in helping to cover funeral expenses for Cobbie.

Anyone wishing to help may do so by sending donations in care of White Sanders Funeral Home, P.O. Box 596, Fisk, Mo., 63940.

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