Wednesday 24 January 2018

Boy (5) who drowned in lake 'loved throwing stones to make splash'

Ahmed Bari
Ahmed Bari

Louise Roseingrave

A FIVE year old boy who drowned in a Dublin pond loved to throw stones to create a splash, an inquest heard.

Ahmed Bari (5) from Belgree Lawns in Tyrellstown, Dublin 15 went missing from his home around 9.30am on Monday June 30th 2014.

As his parents tried frantically to locate him, he was recovered from a nearby pond by a passing cyclist at around 10.20am.

“He used to love throwing rocks into the water, he loved the splash, that’s what attracted him,” the boy's father Haider Bari said.

Garda John Santry estimated it would have taken the boy around 15 minutes to reach the pond on foot from his home, but Mr Bari said his autistic son moved fast and was good with directions.

The child, whose school holidays had just begun, was one of three siblings, who were nine and two when the accident happened. His parents welcomed a newborn baby to the family last week.

Mr Bari said the boy's mother Amal Bari opened Ahmed'd bedroom door that morning and the child passed their bedroom and made his way downstairs.

“We were upstairs and didn’t hear any noise downstairs so I told her to go down to investigate,” he said.

His wife found the front door open and ran out of the house looking for Ahmed.

Mr Bari got dressed and grabbed the couple’s daughter and got into the car to search.

Ahmed, dressed in pyjama bottoms, was spotted in the lake by two women out walking, who informed passing cyclists, Marie Doyle and Deirdre Byrne.

“They said, we think there’s a baby in the pond,” Ms Byrne told the inquest.

 “He was just at the side of the water, not far in. There was a plastic coloured ball in the water. We never knew if that was his ball or not. We thought he went out to get that ball,” she said.

When the child’s mother arrived, she started to scream, Ms Byrne said.

Mr Bari said he never knew the pond was there until after his son's death. He said a carer used to bring Ahmed there for walks on Saturday's.

Dublin Coroner’s Court heard that the pond was man made and that emergency services had difficulty locating the park.

Garda John Santry of Blanchardstown Garda Station said all units had difficulty finding the pond. “A community garda told me exactly where it was so I was able to assist Dublin Fire Brigade with the location,” he said.

Firefighter Joseph Brady of Tara Street Fire Station said there was no pulse and the child was not breathing when emergency crews arrived.

Ahmed was transferred to Children’s University Hospital Temple Street where medics battled to save his life but  he was pronounced dead at 11.22am.

The cause of death was drowning. Gda Santry said the pond was shallow around the edges but it’s full depth was not known. A number of additional life buoys have been installed since the accident along with signage to the park. Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said he planned to contact the local authority with regard to the possibility of installing gates at park entrance and exit points and lighting to make the pond safer by night.

Returning a verdict of accidental death, Dr Farrell said he would contact Fingal County Council to ensure that safety measures around the pond and park would be reviewed ‘in light of what happened to Ahmed.’

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