Coroner raises concerns after teen drowns in Canadian school swimming lesson earlier this year

2018-11-28 15:44
Swimming pool. (Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)

Swimming pool. (Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)

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A 14-year-old Canadian boy who drowned during a high-school swimming class was underwater for 38 minutes before anyone realized that he was at the bottom of the pool, a recent coroner’s report shows.

Blessing Claude Moukoko had been taking part in a swimming lesson in February at Père-Marquette public pool in Montréal, Canada. He was at the pool with 18 of his classmates, a lifeguard and a physical-education teacher when the drowning occurred.

The lesson was part of a required gym class for school.

According to the Montreal Gazette, the lesson was being taught by a replacement teacher and the lifeguard on duty was helping the substitute with the course.

Students told police that Blessing couldn’t swim, was afraid of water and would cling to the edge of the pool throughout a swimming lesson.

It was no different that day.

No one noticed that the Grade 8 student was missing when his class finished their lesson.

It was only when a second class arrived that they saw what they thought was a dummy at the bottom of the pool, CTV News reports.  

Blessing was pulled from the water and given CPR but was unresponsive.

Emergency responders rushed him to hospital. However, he’d already suffered severe brain damage and died in hospital six days later, CTV News reports.

Louis Normandin, coroner of Quebec, ruled the drowning an accident, but goes on to say that it absolutely could’ve been prevented. He notes in his report that the teacher hadn’t been adequately trained to give swimming lessons, the lifeguard had been distracted by other duties, and neither did a head count afterwards to make sure everyone was out of the pool.

“We see all of it in hindsight and we see all the errors that were committed,” Normandin said in his statement. “And it hurts my heart because he’s gone. And he was only 14 years old.”

Sources: New York Post, CTV News, Montreal Gazette

 

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