Girl, six, dies in swimming lesson tragedy

She was supposed to start Primary 1 this year, but a tragedy at a public swimming pool has robbed her of the opportunity.

The six-year-old girl died in hospital on Tuesday afternoon after being unconscious for 20 days.

She had been found unconscious during a swimming lesson at Kallang Basin swimming complex on Dec 20 last year, her grandmother told Chinese-language newspaper Shin Min Daily News.

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

Shin Min quoted her grandmother as saying: "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."

The family was looking forward to the girl starting Primary 1 this year, the grandmother said, adding that her uniform had already been bought. The girl was the only child of her son, the grandmother said.

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

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

A Sport Singapore spokesman said the organisation has been in touch with the child's family. SportSG, which runs the swimming complex, is also assisting the authorities in their investigations.

The police are investigating this as a case of unnatural death.

Aw Cheng Wei

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 12, 2018, with the headline 'Girl, six, dies in swimming lesson tragedy'. Print Edition | Subscribe