Toddler dies after drowning in home pool

2011-01-12 00:00

AN engaged Shelly Beach couple were left devastated when their 18-month-old son died at Port Shepstone Provincial Hospital after he fell into their swimming pool on Monday morning.

The toddler, Llewellyn Swane­poel, was found by his father, Deon, at around 11 am lying face down in the swimming pool.

The pool had been drained, but had filled up with rain water.

“Nobody will know what happened in those final minutes,” said Deon. “Only he will know.”

Swanepoel was working on a newly acquired beach buggy at the time of the incident. “[Llewellyn] was playing right next to me; he always wanted to climb into the beach buggy, but I wouldn’t let him because he could get hurt,” said the father.

He then told his son to go inside to fetch his bottle. “That was the last time I saw him before finding him in the pool.”

Minutes later, Swanepoel walked into the house and asked Llewellyn’s mother, Louene Hodgkinson, if he was with her. He then asked Hodgkinson’s two other children (who were playing in the garden) if Llewellyn was with them. It was then that he spotted Llewellyn lying in the pool. He rushed over immediately and pulled him out of the pool.

Being given instructions by a medic over the phone, Swanepoel began performing CPR on his son. It took around 10 minutes for para­medics to arrive on the scene and Llewellyn was resuscitated and taken to Port Shepstone Provincial Hospital.

Tragically, at around 7 pm, Llewellyn died.

Because the death was unnatural, a police inquest has been opened and investigations will be made before the specifics of the death can be revealed.

The family — Swanepoel, Hodgkinson, Llewellyn and two of Louene’s children from a previous marriage — had moved into their Shelly Beach house only a week ago.

“We are already making plans to move out of here,” Swanepoel said. “The memories are just too much to bear.

He said they could not believe what had happened. “He was starting to talk and he would say ‘dada’,” he said.

A distraught Hodgkinson thanked all of those who have shown support to her and her family during and after the tragedy. “I want to thank all my family and friends for the support,” she said, “and also to Glen from ER24 and the staff at Port Shepstone Hospital.”

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