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Victim of neglect? Findings show drowned girl was left unattended in Sentosa pool

The Independent logo The Independent 18/4/2019 Shech
a person swimming in the water © Wikimedia Commons

A six-year-old girl died from complications after nearly drowning in the pool of Sentosa’s Festive Hotel last Oct 2018. The coroner in charge of the case recently released findings that the girl had been left unattended when she had been in the pool.

Andrea Hailey Tan Yan Ying and her grandmother, granduncle, and the granduncle’s toddler son checked in for a vacation stay at the Resorts World Singapore last Oct 6, 2018.

On the morning of Oct 7, Andrea and her family members had gone for a swim in the hotel’s pool. The grandmother had given Andrea a floating device for her to use.

The granduncle had accompanied Andrea and his toddler son to swim at the kiddie pool while the grandmother watched them from the poolside hut.

In the court statement, the granduncle had thought that Andrea had known how to swim even without the aid of a floating device. He said that Andrea “was not afraid to enter the water.”

For some reason, the granduncle had taken both the toddler and Andrea to the adult’s pool which was 1.2 meters deep. Andrea, wearing the floating device, played in the pool and blew bubbles underwater.

The granduncle had then taken his toddler son to the nearby jacuzzi, leaving Andrea alone at the adult’s pool. He had not told Andrea that he was going to leave.

It was too late when the grandmother noticed the floating device drifting away on the surface of the pool while Andrea was underwater, unmoving.

The granduncle pulled Andrea out of the water and a passerby performed emergency CPR. Paramedics rushed Andrea to the Singapore General Hospital, and she was transferred to KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

Unfortunately, Andrea died ten days later due to brain damage from lack of oxygen and pneumonia because of nearly drowning.

The hotel allegedly had not lacked the necessary safety reminders and guidelines, but there had apparently been no lifeguard on duty during the incident. Andrea’s father also stated that the girl had not known how to swim.

The tragedy could have been avoided if the adults had just watched over the girl as she was in the pool. In the report, State Coroner Kamala Ponnampalam said that “what was singularly lacking was adult supervision,” and that a personal flotation device is “not a substitute for constant, vigilant, adult supervision.”

Most pools demand that children aged 12 years and below should always be supervised by adults. Even if the child knows how to swim, adult companions are expected to be at arms length of them and to have them within clear view at all times, as drowing can occur quickly, quietly, and even in shallow water. /TISG

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