Girl, 6, dies after swimming mishap in public pool

The girl was found unconscious and floating on the water during a swimming lesson at Kallang Basin complex on Dec 20, 2017.
The girl was found unconscious and floating on the water during a swimming lesson at Kallang Basin complex on Dec 20, 2017.PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

SINGAPORE - She was supposed to start Primary 1 this year, but a mishap at a public pool robbed her of the opportunity. 

The six-year-old girl died in hospital on Tuesday afternoon (Jan 9) after being unconscious for 20 days, following a swimming mishap at Kallang Basin swimming complex.

During a swimming lesson on Dec 20 last year, she was found unconscious and floating on the water, her grandmother told Chinese-language newspaper Shin Min Daily News.

The incident happened as the coach was giving one-on-one guidance to the class of five. The girl was believed to be waiting for her turn in the 0.9m-deep pool.

According to Shin Min, the girl's grandmother said: "We are not trying to assign blame, but we want to know what went wrong.

"We also hope that her death serves as a reminder to others to be more alert and not to repeat this tragedy."

The family was looking forward to the girl starting Primary 1 this year, the grandmother said. Her uniform had already been bought, she added.

"She is a very obedient girl, my son's only child. Everyone treats her like a little princess."

The Straits Times understands that the coach's licence to teach at public pools has been suspended.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force said that it responded to an ambulance call at the complex at 7.20pm on Dec 20. The unconscious girl was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital. She was subsequently moved to KK Women's and Children's Hospital, where she died.

A spokesman for Sport Singapore (SportSG), which runs the complex, said the organisation has been in touch with the child’s family to render support.

SportSG is also assisting the authorities in their investigations.

Said the spokesman: “We are saddened by the passing of a six-year old girl... Our thoughts are with (her family) at this difficult time.”

Police are investigating this case of unnatural death.