Parents of girl who drowned at pool party 'relive her passing every day'

The parents of a seven-year-old girl who drowned at her best friend's birthday pool party have said it feels like they "relive her passing every day", as an inquest concluded her death was accidental.

Maya Kantengule was found at the bottom of the pool while there was no lifeguard on duty, an inquest at Norfolk Coroner's Court in England was told.

She was dragged from the pool by her best friend's mother and sister, who battled to save her, but she died in hospital with her parents at her bedside.

Her father, Livial Kantengule, and mother, Glenda, said in a statement: "We are still devastated following the passing of our beloved daughter, Maya Grace Kantengule.

"The pain is still unbearable and, even though it's been over a year, it feels like we relive her passing every day.

"We miss her dearly and she has left a void that is difficult to fill."

Maya Kantengule. Photo: Family handout/PA Wire

Mr Kantengule told the inquest he believed his daughter could swim as she had received lessons at school, but teaching assistant Jaqueline Bell said in a written statement that Maya, from Oulton Broad, Suffolk, was not a confident swimmer.

"She was nervous in the water and would use armbands and a woggle (swimming aid)," she said.

"There was always an adult with the children in the pool and they would encourage her to take her feet off the bottom.

"She could take her feet off the bottom with support, but couldn't do it on her own."

Jane Rainer, the mother of Maya's best friend, said she jumped into the pool fully clothed to try to save her and performed CPR at the poolside at the Waveney River Centre holiday park in Burgh St Peter, Norfolk.

Maya died at the James Paget University Hospital near Great Yarmouth on May 1 2016.

The inquest heard there was no requirement for the privately-hired pool, which was 5ft (1.5m) at its deepest, to have a lifeguard as long as signage and other appropriate warnings were in place.

A jury returned a conclusion of accidental death on Thursday.

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