Police are investigating the death of a 13-year-old boy who choked on a hot dog during a fundraising activity at the Boys and Girls Club of San Pedro.
Homicide detectives believe the death of Noah Thomas Akers of San Pedro was an accident, but were conducting an investigation, Los Angeles police Lt. David McGill said.
A family member said the Dana Middle School student was removed from life support on Monday, four days after he choked at the club facility at 1200 S. Cabrillo Ave.
Mike Lansing, executive director at the center, said Noah was among about 120 middle school and elementary school-age children participating in the fundraiser Thursday afternoon to raise money for Haiti relief.
They had organized activities such as a dance contest, a tug-of-war and a game of musical chairs for days and each paid $1 to take part.
Noah had joined 12 other boys and girls in a hot dog eating game. It was not a contest to see who could eat the most hot dogs, Lansing said.
Instead, each participant was handed a cooked hot dog with whipped cream on it in a bun. Each child who could finish the odd combination was to receive candy as a prize.
Lansing said a Boys and Girls Club staff member advised the children that each participant should take his or her time, and that it was not a speed event.
Noah suddenly stood up during the event.
"(Noah) just started choking," Lansing said. "That's when our staff immediately rushed to his aid."
A male staff member performed the Heimlich maneuver, abdominal thrusts from behind, while others called 911 and cleared the area of other children, Lansing said.
"(The staff member) repeatedly tried to get it dislodged and couldn't," Lansing said.
Paramedics arrived quickly and used a "long, extended pair of forceps" to dislodge it.
"It had gone to a place where it was hard to get," Lansing said.
Noah was alive when he was taken to a hospital. By then, however, he had gone without oxygen for too long.
"We are so sad for Noah and his family," Lansing said.
McGill said the initial investigation indicated the children were properly supervised.
Lansing said every staff member at the Boys and Girls Club takes part in annual emergency first aid training.
"My staff is obviously very devastated, especially the ones that were assisting Noah," Lansing said. "He was very well-liked. They did everything they could to assist him."
Los Angeles Unified School District and Los Angeles Police Department counselors were made available for other children and staff members, Lansing said.
Noah was a regular member at the club, attending activities three to five days a week. He was part of a college-bound program and played board games with staff members.
The boy's parents, Paul and Bonnie Akers, were unavailable.
"The family is in shock and mourning," McGill said.
Lansing said the children donated about $150 for Haiti relief.
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