Pool heroines tell of battle to save girl, 3
There was no trained lifeguard on duty on the morning a three-year-old girl drowned in a hotel swimming pool.
And leisure area staff on duty had been given no training how to respond to an emergency situation if they thought someone was in difficulties, an inquest heard.
The hearing heard such training was now being given at the seafront Dalmeny Hotel at St Annes where little Jane Bell died in August 2014 during a family holiday.
Jane was swimming in the hotel’s main pool, but she had no armbands or other flotation devices on when she went into the 7ft deep end.
During evidence on the second day of the inquest at Blackpool Magistrates, a coroner heard how one staff member did dive in but could not reach her when it was realised that the girl was on the bottom of the pool.
A hotel guest, 42-year-old Carole Greenwood – a trained swimming instructor – dived in and managed to reach Jane and brought her onto the poolside.
The girl had been immersed for almost two minutes and although she did recover consciousness she died later in hospital.
An eye witness, retired schoolteacher Annabelle Andrews, told Coroner Alan Wilson: “I was in the pool area but I did not see any staff. What I did see is what looked like a red swimming costume at the pool bottom. I was horrified.”
The dead girl’s mother and father, Sarah and David Bell, from Gala, Selkirkshire, have chosen not to attend the inquest.
Staff member Daniel Watson had opened the leisure centre on the day of the tragedy.
He told the hearing he heard the alarm and went to the pool and was about to enter the water when Jane was brought to the surface.
He said he had been given no lifeguard training at the hotel but had achieved a bronze medal in life saving as a 13-year-old schoolboy.
Harrowing footage from the hotel CCTV of the rescue and revival attempts on the child by Mrs Greenwood and off duty paramedic James Pendlebury, who was about to check out of the hotel when he reacted to the emergency and started to treat Jane, was shown to the court.
Health visitor Lucy Rosenberg was also a guest and she told the coroner how she watched the dead girl’s mother’s reaction to what had happened.
Sarah Bell had remained in the pool as her daughter was brought to the surface and watched from the water as her daughter was given resuscitation.
Mrs Rosenberg said: “I felt for the little girl’s pulse. It was weak and she did not respond to my questions. I looked at her mother who had no expression – she looked vacant. She was detached emotionally and did not speak.
“She had a complete lack of response. It might have been shock I do not know.”
Leisure centre manager Tom Bird told the hearing that at the time of the girl’s death the hotel’s health and safety practices were dealt with by an outside consultancy.
He said that emergency response training had started to be given to staff two months after the drowning.