'She disappeared as we watched her swim,' says Michaela dad
The father of a nine-year-old girl who died at a swimming pool in Dublin has described the heartbreaking moment he tried to save her.
Michaela Gonda (9) was taking part in a swimming lesson at the Community School Sports Complex, Balrothery, Tallaght, Co Dublin, when she became ill last Friday evening.
Her devastated father Mike yesterday told the Sunday Independent about the heartbreaking moment he tried to save his only child.
"She was at her swimming class yesterday and myself and my wife Yvonne were watching her. She was calling, 'Mammy, look at me', 'Daddy, can you see me swimming?' and we were watching her.
"Then she disappeared and we couldn't see her any more. My wife asked, 'Where's Michaela?' and I ran over to the pool where I saw her underwater.
"I jumped into the pool to save her. I would do anything for her."
Mr Gonda said that efforts were made to resuscitate his young daughter at the pool.
Michaela was transferred to Our Lady's Children's Hospital, in Crumlin, where she was pronounced dead a short time later.
Her heartbroken father described her as a happy, loving, smart child. He added: "She loved singing, swimming, cycling, dancing. She was very active. We'd buy her anything she wanted because she was our only child."
Mr Gonda said that Michaela was born with a heart problem and had already had two heart surgeries in her short life.
He said: "She had heart surgery at four months old and in 2015. She never complained about anything.
"Even though she was turning 10 soon, she would sleep in beside me and my wife every night and would hold our hands together. I really miss her so much."