Update: June 29, 9:05 a.m.
Loudoun County today issued a statement in response to the Times-Mirror's publication of the county's 911 calls relating to the drowning of 16-year-old Fitz Thomas. The statement reads:
"Loudoun County joined the greater community in mourning the loss of 16 year old Fitz Thomas. The county extends its deepest condolences to the family and friends who have been impacted by this tragic accident.
We recognize that the community should know all of the facts regarding the emergency response on June 4, 2020. Loudoun County is currently conducting a thorough review of the incident. We caution the public not to jump to conclusions until all of the facts are known.
What we know at this time is that the first 911 call from the incident scene was first received at 5:48 p.m. by Montgomery County, Maryland. Emergency responses to the Potomac River are handled by Maryland’s first responders. Montgomery County’s first responders arrived at the Potomac River at 6:04 p.m. with the first Montgomery County boat arriving at the boat launch site at 6:16 p.m. Loudoun County’s emergency communications call center received its first call from the incident scene at 6:06 p.m. Loudoun first responders arrived at the scene at 6:24 p.m.
Loudoun County is committed to carefully examining its emergency response, which is a standard practice following critical incidents of this nature. When all of the facts have been compiled, a report will be published. The county is committed to transparency regarding the incident; however, at this time, it is premature to discuss the details of the incident review and to draw any conclusions regarding the emergency response.
We appreciate the public’s patience as the county evaluates the incident and assembles the facts in the coming weeks.
From the editor, original post: June 26, 8:27 a.m.
To give readers a fuller picture of the accidental drowning death of Leesburg 16-year-old Fitz Thomas, the Times-Mirror is publishing 911 calls from the incident. While the recordings are within the public purview through the Freedom of Information Act, the Times-Mirror also reached out to Thomas's family to receive their blessing in disclosing the tapes. The Thomas family obliged.
The recordings contain explicit language and demonstrate numerous people in severe distress. The audio will likely be painful for many people to listen to, but we believe in the public's right to hear the calls, in part because county policy has been changed as a result of the situation. Roughly 30 minutes passed between the initial call from Loudoun County and local responders arriving at the scene. The initial call was routed to Montgomery County, Maryland.
Links to related coverage are below the audio:
Editor's note: Comments on this report have been disabled out of respect for the Thomas family.