Swimming pool trustees fined £10k after schoolgirl nearly drowned

The incident occurred at the Galleon Centre in Kilmarnock on July 29, 2019.

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The trustees of an East Ayrshire leisure centre have been fined £10,000 after a six-year-old girl nearly drowned in a swimming pool.

The unconscious schoolgirl was saved by an 11-year-old boy who picked her up out of the water and carried her to the poolside to be resuscitated by a lifeguard.

The incident occurred at the Galleon Centre in Kilmarnock on July 29, 2019.

The girl was with her family enjoying a fun swim session, which featured a 15m fun-run and a large inflatable slide in the main pool.

The six-year-old went down the slide but was unable to establish her footing.

After jumping around for three minutes and struggling badly to keep her head above the water for 21 seconds, the youngster went under and subsequently became unconscious.

The girl was underwater for 49 seconds before the boy, who had been playing in the middle of the 1.5m-deep pool, felt something touch his foot.

The 11-year-old then picked her up and shouted to a lifeguard for help as he carried her to the poolside.

The lifeguards then took over and administered CPR, bringing the girl back in under two minutes.

The case was investigated by East Ayrshire Council’s Environmental Health Service.

Kilmarnock Leisure Centre Trust was found to have failed to carry out suitable and sufficient risk assessment of the use of inflatables during fun swimming activity sessions and that they were deployed and used in accordance with the manufacturer’s safety instructions.

The trust also failed to carry out lifeguard zone visibility tests to ensure adequate supervision and control of the sessions.

At Kilmarnock Sheriff Court on Thursday, the trustees of Kilmarnock Leisure Centre Trust were fined £10,000 after admitting failings under Health and Safety at Work legislation.

Alistair Duncan, head of the Health and Safety Investigation Unit of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, said: “This was a traumatic incident for the young girl involved.

“An incident, which if not for the intervention of an 11-year-old boy, could potentially have had tragic consequences.

“I commend him for taking such decisive action and in so doing saving the life of the young girl.

“The measures the trust had in place at the time were insufficient to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, the safety of members of the public using its pool.

“Hopefully this incident will remind other pool operators that failure to fulfil their obligations in law can have potentially tragic consequences and that they will be held to account for their failings.”