Drowning: Boy, 8, went into lap pool unnoticed

Four minutes after getting into a lap pool at the Bukit Batok Civil Service Club, an eight-year-old boy became motionless, facing downwards, a coroner's court heard yesterday.

After Muhammad Adil Mohd Shafiee was pulled out of the 1.5m-deep pool, an automated external defibrillator (AED) was used on the boy at 4.58pm, some 10 minutes after the Primary 3 pupil was found motionless in the water on May 14.

Resuscitation efforts continued until paramedics arrived. The boy, who has three older sisters, died 10 days later while in hospital.

At an inquest into his death, the court heard that four lifeguards were at the swimming complex, including the lead lifeguard, Mr Paul Wilfred Santhanasamy.

Shortly after their duty started, the lap pool's lifeguard, Mr Md Yusman Jumaat, had to leave as his mother had suffered a fall.

No one was redeployed there as Mr Wilfred felt that lifeguard Mohamad Mossudiq Ashaari's station, at the pavilion near the drift pool, was high enough for him to see the area where Adil had entered the water.

But Mr Mossudiq left for the toilet minutes before Adil was found in the pool.

The court heard that the boy would have been stopped if a lifeguard had seen him going to the 1.5m-deep lap pool area. There was a sign near the various swimming pools reminding parents or guardians to accompany children below the age of 12 at all times.

Adil had been swimming undetected for a full six minutes before he was found motionless by a club member.

Five lifeguards now work on weekends at the club.

Colourful pink wrist bands are also issued to young children to help in their identification within the pool complex, and to prompt parents and lifeguards to closely supervise the children.

In his findings, Coroner Marvin Bay said Adil's drowning was a "tragic misadventure".

His death was the 12th accidental drowning of a child aged 12 and below since January 2014.

Elena Chong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 17, 2017, with the headline 'Drowning: Boy, 8, went into lap pool unnoticed'. Print Edition | Subscribe