Sandwich, 5, is fighting for his life after a swimming accident

SANDWICH—After a swimming accident at snake pond A 5-year-old Sandwich resident remains in critical condition on Sunday. Boston Children’s Hospital.

According to family friend Christine Petricca Ross, Zohaib Malik-Mohammad was placed in an induced coma on Thursday. Doctors are hoping the coma will give his body more time to heal, after he was found unconscious in the shallow waters of Snake Pond.

At the time of the accident, Zohaib was attending a birthday party for Ross’ daughter when he suddenly disappeared, Ross said. While many of the children at the party were playing a variety of beach games, including Zohaib’s two brothers, his father Mubashir “Mobie” Mohammad noticed that Zohaib was not with the other children.

Mobie, who works at the Forestdale Shell service station, started scouring the shore and told several relatives he couldn’t find Zohaib. Because of all the kids at the party, Mobie had previously placed Zohaib in a white shirt so he could choose him from the crowd of revelers.

“He was watching him very closely and lost track of him for a second. I could feel his fear,” Ross said.

Immediately after learning that Zohaib was nowhere to be found, the parents at the party sprang into action – first cleaning the pond, running a count, then searching for Zohaib in the water.

A swimming accident happened at a birthday party

“There were probably about 10 of us mums all of us spread out – at arm’s length and started combing the water,” she said. “Me and another mum swam to the buoys in case he got that far.”

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Since many of the parents were members of the Coast Guard or were healthcare workers, Ross said they followed professional security procedures to find the young boy. After several minutes of searching, a woman saw the white shirt and pulled Zohaib out of the water at hip level. Although he had a pulse, he was unconscious.

Zohaib Malik-Mohammad was at a birthday party at Snake Pond when he went missing. [Photo courtesy of Christine Petricca Ross]

“We were probably doing CPR for about 10 minutes before the paramedics took over,” Ross said. “The rescue effort couldn’t have gone better. It gave him the best chance of survival.”

The Sandwich Police Department declined to comment on the swimming accident.

Vigil held, funds raised for the family

As Zohaib continues to fight for his life, Ross has launched a go finance meand one meal train for members of the community who wish to help the family. Donors can also purchase gift cards to give to the family.

Ross also held a vigil that Wednesday in the outdoor classroom at Forestdale School. While Mobie and Zohaib’s mother, Abide Malik-Mohammad, has not left Zohaib since the accident, his grandmother and two brothers attended the vigil and were joined by a few hundred community members. .

Throughout the evening, thoughts, prayers, songs and stories were shared for the family, Ross said. Because the Malik-Mohammad family is from Pakistan, Pakistani community leaders also came and shared prayers.

“The vigil was really helpful. It was meant to show Zohaib’s family that they have a whole community that adores them,” Ross said. “It also gave us the opportunity to come together to pray and support each other.”

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Forestdale School principal Chris Dintino helped organize the vigil and said the rally was a great show of support.

“Sadly, it took an incident like this to see how the community can come together and take this family under our wings,” he said. “I’m so proud of our community.”

State Representative Steven Xiarhos also attended the vigil and spoke with Zohaib’s brothers, offering them quick rides on his Harley. Since Sunday, Xiarhos said he has been in touch with the Malik-Mohammad family to offer support. Xiarhos’ own son, Nicholas Xiarhos, was a Marine serving in southern Afghanistan and died in action in 2009.

“A tragedy can be so painful, but there is also beauty when a community comes together,” Xiarhos said. “I experienced it when I lost my own son years ago. It was the community that came together and saved our family.”

Advice for accident victims

As well as showing support at the vigil, Dintino also set up counseling services on Monday to support children and adults who were present during Sunday’s crash.

“I wanted to target the families who were there and the kids there who saw what happened,” he said. “For a 6 or 7 year old, as well as the adults present, this will stick with them for the rest of their lives.”

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While most of the children were distracted by beach games during the party, Ross said some children witnessed the incident.

“The group (of kids) that was swimming in the sewage probably saw the most and they had a hard time taking it all in,” Ross said. “Mr. D opened up the school so we could see counselors and a lot of us took advantage of that. It was really, really nice.”

Although services are not running at the school throughout the summer, Dintino said families can email him ([email protected]) if they need further guidance.

For Ross, it’s time for the community of Sandwich and beyond to give back to the Malik-Mohammad family in times of need. She said that Mobie, in particular, has been indispensable to community members during difficult times. As a gas station worker, she said he opened the store during storms and power outages just to make sure people could access basic needs. He’s also been kind to Ross’s loved ones who experienced an early onset of Alzheimer’s – going so far as to raise money for the

Alzheimer organizations at the gas station.

“We have to be there for them like they were there for us,” she said. “It’s so important to show up for this family.”

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Xiarhos also encourages Cape Cod communities to pray for the Malik-Mohammad family.

“Everyone is praying for a young boy most of us have never met. He’s very special. Very powerful,” he said. “I have a feeling this could be one of those miracles.”

Dintino agreed and said Zohaib and the whole Malik-Mohammad family will need support to go the long way.

“He’s not off the hook,” he said. “But I pray and hope that I can roll out the red carpet for him in September and he can walk through my building and start kindergarten. I hope that can happen. And I’m going to plan for it.”