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Elementary student dies after drowning at waterpark

Posted August. 22, 2022 07:53,   

Updated August. 22, 2022 07:53


Police is investigating a case in which an elementary school first grader died more than 40 days after falling into coma due to drowning at a waterpark. When spotted, the child was floating on the water for about eight minutes after losing consciousness in the accident, but no lifeguard or tutor from the taekwondo academy that brought the child to the waterpark noticed this.

According to the police, a seven-year-old boy lost consciousness after drowning in the waterpark in Hongcheon, Gangwon Province on June 25 and was taken to hospital. He died on August 5, 41 days after the accident. According to CCTV footages, the boy was drowned at 10:41 a.m. and rescued between 10:48 and 10:49 a.m. Wearing a life vest, the boy was floating on the water with face down for seven to eight minutes. Lifeguards at the waterpark failed to recognize this until a tutor from another taekwondo academy spotted him. A tutor from his own academy rushed to the scene only after being called.

At the time, more than 160 students from five taekwondo academies came to the waterpark as group. They included some 40 students and two tutors from the boy’s academy. Notably, the wave pool where the boy was drowned could be accessed by a child 120 centimeters tall or shorter only when accompanied by a guardian. The boy stood 117 centimeters tall and thus was allowed to use only when accompanied by a guardian, but the academy’s tutors may have failed to follow this rule.

“I would not have sent my son to the waterpark if I had been aware that so many students from different taekwondo academies went there as group together,” the boy’s mother told reporters. “If a lifeguard or taekwondo academy tutor detected him early and did not miss golden hour,’ my son would have survived.”

The police are investigating the academy’s tutors and officials at the waterpark on charges of manslaughter due to negligence and violations of the severe accident punishment act. “We are investigating the exact cause and situation around the accident based on analyses of CCTV footages and witnesses’ and others’ testimonies,” an official at the Gangwon Police Department told reporters.

In-Mo Lee imlee@donga.com