Boy drowns in pool during b’day bash
A nine-year-old boy died in a swimming pool accident during his classmate’s birthday celebrations on Tuesday evening, leaving his friends and family in shock and grief.
The Indian boy, Bonie Joseph Jr, was playing with some classmates and other children who had come for the birthday party at an apartment in New Gold Souq building in Bur Dubai when the tragedy took place.
“I really don’t know how it happened,” said Joseph who had dropped his son at his friend’s place for the kids’ party. About 45 minutes later, he received a call asking him to reach the building soon since his child had fallen into the swimming pool.
“I was not told that there was a pool party. My son had gone there in party wear. But when I reached there, I saw him lying in swimwear trousers. And a main factor is there was no guard for the swimming pool activities,” he told .
The father of another classmate of Joseph Jr, who did not wish to be named, said he was told that the children would be playing in the swimming pool at the rooftop of the building. “The party was at the flat. But kids were taken to the rooftop for playing in the swimming pool. My son fairly knows swimming. So I had allowed him and my daughter to play in the pool,” he said.
He said his son and seven-year-old daughter along with some children were playing in a small pool while Joseph Jr. drowned in a bigger pool where he was playing with some other children. “I also had left the building after leaving the kids there. But they called me by mistake thinking that I’m Bonie’s father. Since I was around in Bur Dubai, I could come back fast.”
He said Joseph Jr. was pulled out of water by some of the children and the mother of the birthday boy. Though he was given first aid by paramedics and rushed to hospital, the boy did not survive. “My son did not go to school today (Wednesday) and I am not sending him tomorrow either. All the children in the class must be really upset,” he said.
The school would close for summer holidays today.
The Dubai Police and Dubai Municipality have opened an investigation into the incident.
As per the municipality’s local order No. 11/2003, there should be adequate stock of safety equipment and a qualified lifeguard on duty when people are swimming in a public pool.
The Public Health and Safety Department that is in charge of overseeing the maintenance and safety of public pools had carried out various campaigns asking private groups and hotels owning swimming pools to strengthen pool safety measures, and urging parents to fix gates, fences, sensor alarms etc to safeguard their children from drowning in pools in their yards.