Sunday 22 October 2017

Boy found at bottom of pool fighting for his life

Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

A YOUNG boy was fighting for his life in hospital last night after he was found lying at the bottom of a swimming pool during a family day out.

The schoolboy, from Williamstown, Co Galway, had been at the Kingfisher Club in nearby Tuam Leisure Centre, when the incident occurred.

He was brought to University College Hospital Galway (UCHG) where he remained in a critical condition in intensive care.

Gardai in Tuam are investigating the incident, which happened at 2.30pm on Sunday.

The child, who was described as being seven or eight years of age, had been at the pool with a male relative and two other children.

Three lifeguards were on duty at the time of the incident. On seeing the child's body lying at the bottom of the deep end of the pool, one lifeguard jumped in and pulled him unconscious from the water.

Desperate

The pool was immediately cleared and other users were kept back as staff attempted to revive the young boy. Despite desperate attempts to do so, he remained unresponsive for several minutes before beginning to breathe again.

The child was then brought to hospital under a garda escort and was later transferred to an ambulance on the way to UCHG. One witness who was at the leisure centre when the incident occurred said that only 40 people had been in the pool at the time.

"The first I knew of it, I saw the lifeguard running and someone was shouting, 'Someone drowned, someone drowned'.

"The pool was closed straight away, everybody just left the water. It was awful, the children were very upset and they were crying," he said.

Lifeguards

"The little boy wasn't coming around. Then after what seemed like seven or eight minutes he started to breathe again. The shout went up that he was breathing and we were so relieved. He was a woeful colour, he was white and kind of blue," he added.

The witness added that the young boy's relative was distraught as lifeguards attempted to resuscitate him.

"The man who was with him was terrified. He was beating the walls and crying. He was just in an awful way, explaining to someone on the phone what had happened," he recalled.

The pool was closed for the remainder of Sunday but re-opened yesterday. Kingfisher Club said it was not in a position to comment.

Earlier this year, a number of lights in the pool area were changed after concerns about visibility.

The bulbs, which can last for a number of years, were replaced and other maintenance was also carried out.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News