Boy drowns in club swimming pool

ABU DHABI — In a bizarre incident of negligence, a six-year-old Syrian boy drowned in the swimming pool at the Marina Club on Wednesday evening, minutes after his father dropped him along with his two older siblings.

By Anjana Sankar

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Published: Fri 28 Apr 2006, 11:55 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 5:56 PM

Eyewitnesses said the boy, student of the Future Generation School, drowned as he directly plunged into the deeper side of the pool, after he used the long slide perched on the pool sides.

The father, Ammar Al Yassin, an Abu Dhabi-based employee of a foreign diplomatic mission told Khaleej Times that his son Mohammed Bader would have graduated to the first grade tomorrow if the club had employed security guards or taken enough safety measures at the pool area.

"I am not sad because my son died. I am sad that he died this way; due to the complete negligence of the people concerned," said an outwardly calm and collected father who but vowed to bring the responsible people to justice for depriving him of his youngest son.

"I want to see these people locked in prison. They have stolen the smile away from my house," wailed the father on his way back from the Baniyas cemetery after the funeral of his son yesterday evening.

According to him, he had dropped his family, consisting his wife, nine-year-old son Sami, seven -year-old Sara and Bader to the club on Wednesday evening because they wanted to go for swimming. "There was a separate pool for ladies and since I couldn't go with them, I dropped them and left the place. My wife came along to take some stuff from the car and by the time she got back to the pool, my son was gone for ever," Ammar explained, his voice choked with pain and agony.

"It all happened in 15 minutes. I might have dropped them at the pool around 5.30 and before 5.45 my wife called me to say that we lost our son. There was nobody to help; no staff, no security. It was a UAE national who happened to be there at that time, rushed Bader to a near by clinic, but then it was too late."

Ammar complained that the Police came to the spot after 8.30, almost three hours after the tragedy. "I was shocked by their approach. Everybody had been dialling 999 and nobody turned up. You tell me is it reasonable? is it justifiable?" asked the livid father.

Ammar who later went to inspect the pool told this scribe that the pool was too deep and hence unsuitable for children. "I was told that my son drowned as he passed through a long pipe and straightaway plunged into the deep area which is not meant for children. I don't know why they have kept those stuff there in the first place, and allow children when the pool is too deep for them," quizzed Ammar.

Calling on the authorities to close down the place, Ammar insisted that he was not taking it personally. "When I call for action, you have to understand that I am not waging a personal war. If it were not my boy, it could have been anybody else's child. There were over 30 kids in the pool and fate had it that it had to be Bader," sighed Ammar.

An official of the club expressing regret over the tragedy said: “ It is a joint responsibility. The mother should also have taken care of the child. But she was unfortunately not present then.

In any case if the boy did not know swimming, they should have bought a life jacket from a nearby shop for him.'' He said it was unfair to criticise the club because of this tragic accident. Police are investigating the case.

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