Pool death exposes poor safety measures

Pool death exposes poor safety measures

The drowning of Pankaj Dahima, in a swimming pool in Rajarajeshwarinagar on Sunday, has once again exposed the callous attitude of the pool owners in implementing safety measures. 

Apartment owners and club managements have to comply with several norms to maintain swimming pools on their premises. The norms suggest appointment of expert coaches, security guards, supervisors and lifeguards to save lives at times of tragedies.

But, most pool owners have failed to implement safety measures, police said. The City police claimed they that had issued directives to the owners four years ago after a techie, Smruti Rajan Sharma, 27, drowned at PM Swimming Pool in Jayanagar III Block on April 16, 2008. At the time of the accident, the head coach of the pool was absent.

Police have no powers to conduct surprise inspection to check safety measures. As per the law, they can only book people responsible for deaths due to negligence. However, accused get bail and cases drag on in courts for years,  police said.

Many clubs and apartments claim they have enough safety measures. These measures exist only on papers and they rarely follow the instructions given by the police, they added. While efforts by Deccan Herald to elicit a response from the Best Club failed, some residents recounted that this wasn’t the first time such an incident occurred at the Best Club Pool. 

“Some five years ago, a young girl of about 8 years drowned in the same pool during coaching, in the presence of the coach. I actually discontinued my son’s swimming classes at the club after the incident,” said Ramesh, a neighbour of Pankaj. 

Sunil Dahima, Pankaj’s uncle also blamed negligence and lack of safety measures at the club pool, as the causes for his son’s death. 

“Though they claim that they saved him in just two minutes, that isn’t the case. A precious time of about 10 minutes have lapsed before he was saved from the pool and another 30 minutes before he was shifted to the hospital. There wasn’t even proper first aid facilities at the club. Even now, not even a single representative of the club has contacted us or paid our house a courtesy visit,” he said. Rajarajeshwari Nagar Police have registered a case of negligence against the Best Club over the incident. The Sunday’s tragic incident is nothing new as there have been similar incidents in the past.

Three weeks ago, an elderly woman, Vanitha, 62, a resident of a posh apartment in Devarabeesanahalli, fell into a swimming pool and died while going on morning walk. The incident came to light almost an hour later. 

The security guard’s room was locked and the apartment owners washed off their hands saying the security guard was provided only during office hours.

On April 14, 2011, Arjun, 14, a Class X student, died while taking his first swimming lesson at a resort in Devanahalli taluk, even as trainers and his companions watched in horror. 

In 2010, a six-year-old boy went for swimming lessons at the pool in National Games Village in Koramangala and drowned.

On November 15, 2011, H Tejas, 9, a Class III student of Mother Theresa English School on MES Road, Jalahalli, drowned at Residency Holiday Resort, Anandanagar in Nelamangala during a school picnic. The schoolteachers were taking rest, while the guards were inside the resort doing some work. 

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