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11-year-old girl pulled from Merrimack River in critical condition

An 11-year-old Lowell girl is in critical condition after she was pulled from the Merrimack River Tuesday afternoon by a passerby, police said, another in a rash of drownings and water rescues across the state in recent months.

The girl was found struggling in the river by a bystander, who called 911 before pulling her from the water around 1 p.m. and beginning “life-saving measures,” Lowell Police Deputy Superintendent Marc LeBlanc said.

Police arrived at the VFW Highway near Aiken Avenue shortly after 1 p.m. and found the passerby administering medical aid, LeBlanc said. Another bystander helped administer aid as well.

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Police believe the girl was swimming with another child when she began struggling. That child was able to escape the water without help, LeBlanc said.

Drownings have come in scores in recent months — Massachusetts counted 18 in the month of May alone. There has also been at least one close call. On June 12, a 10-year-old girl was reported in critical condition after a near-drowning in a swimming pool behind a home in Methuen.

There have been several drownings in the Merrimack River over the past year, including a Weymouth man who died in Lowell last July.






Andrew Brinker can be reached at andrew.brinker@globe.com. Follow him @andrewnbrinker.