POULSBO, WA -- The Armstrong Fitness University and Physical Therapy health club in Poulsbo, WA, suffered a tragedy last Tuesday when a 6-year-old boy was struck by a weight on the cable crossover exercise machine his father was using, the Kitsap (WA) Sun reports.
Crews with the Poulsbo Fire Department took Ethan Smith, who was unconscious but breathing, to be airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. The department pronounced Ethan dead sometime after he was airlifted, the newspaper reports.
The Poulsbo Police Department is investigating the incident, and a final report will go to the Kitsap County prosecutor’s office for review, the Sun reports. The King County Medical Examiner’s Office is conducting an autopsy.
Armstrong Fitness has rules prohibiting children from being in the weight area of the gym, multiple media outlets report. The club was closed on Wednesday and Thursday of last week.
After being contacted by e-mail by Club Industry’s Fitness Business Pro, the manager at Armstrong Fitness called the magazine and said the club will not comment on the “very tragic event.” The manager made a plea on the club’s Web site to halt any untoward messages directed at the father or the club.
“Just because we are open does not mean our hearts are not broken,” the manager writes. “Ethan and Chris were, are and always will be an extended part of the Armstrong family. Saying nasty things or calling us saying nasty things does not change what happened. Please, everyone is hurting. Do not leave messages of hate or words of hate for the gym.”
Counselors were on hand at Poulsbo Elementary, where Ethan was a first-grader, to help grieving students and staff.
“Ethan was a very bright, amazing boy who had many friends and was well known by other students and our staff,” Poulsbo Elementary Principal Jeanette Wolfe said in a letter sent home to students’ parents. “He will be greatly missed.”