Five-year-old drowned after following dad into adult pool

A five-year-old boy on a weekend break with his parents and younger sibling in Killarney, Co Kerry, died after getting into difficulties in a hotel swimming pool on the morning he was due to go back to Dublin, the inquest into his death heard yesterday in Tralee.

A lifeguard pulled him from around 4ft of water in the adult pool of the Aquila Leisure Centre in the Gleneagle Hotel and huge efforts at trying to revive him were made, the inquest was told.

Dr Margot Bolster carried out an autopsy and found no evidence of head injury. She found cause of death to be acute cardio-respiratory failure due to drowning, she told the inquest.

The jury in the inquest into the death of Tadgh Fannin, Bellcare Park, Poppintree, Ballymun, Co Dublin, returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence of death due to drowning on July 18, 2011. He died at Kerry General Hospital.

Coroner Helen Lucey noted the family had come for a weekend break and Tadgh was learning to swim. “It was a very unfortunate tragedy and you have my deepest sympathy,” she said.

Superintendent Jim O’Connor thanked the staff of the leisure centre, who, he said, had made every effort to save the child.

The centre’s manager, Eamon Quigley, also extended his sympathy to the family on behalf of staff.

In a deposition read to the inquest by Supt O’Connor, the boy’s father Owen Fannin said he, his wife Karianne and their two children Tadgh and Feidhlin had arrived at the Gleneagle with friends on the previous Friday and had gone swimming every day.

On the Monday they were due to go home and at about 10.30am, he brought Tadgh to the baby pool.

“Tadgh loved the water,” Mr Fannin said, adding that he was splashing around and playing with him in the pool. He then brought him into the shallow end of the big pool and the child was using a small float.

“I was telling him he did a great job,” Mr Fannin said.

They sat together on the steps “and he gave me a hug and told me he loved me”, Mr Fannin said. Tadgh went back into the baby pool and Mr Fannin went into the big pool, where he swam two lengths.

However when he went back into the baby pool he could not find Tadgh and began searching the changing rooms, asking people if they saw a child.

He returned to the pool to find staff performing CPR on Tadgh. “I wish I had never had that swim and that there was better separation between the baby pool and the adult pool,” Mr Fannin said.

The jury extended their deepest sympathy to the family.

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