The weekend was marked by two tragic events in terms of drowning. A 4-year-old lost his life in Saint-Lambert on Saturday while another 5-year-old was fighting for him after being found unresponsive at the bottom of a swimming pool on Sunday.
Updated yesterday at 11:26 PM.
This last tragedy occurred at the end of the afternoon, about 3:47 p.m., in Repentini, in a house on Eberville Street.
Jose Pereira, a neighbor of the place, says he ran after the house after his wife heard screams from the yard where the tragedy occurred. The sticky green pond water, which has not been maintained since the end of winter, complicated the search.
“I jumped into the water, then sank to the bottom. I moved my hands, and tried to find the child, but all I touched were rocks and toys. I couldn’t see anything, I was suffocating from the water,” says Jose Pereira. “My child, my child! The mother cried after that.
With the help of the child’s father and another neighbour, the little boy was eventually placed in the deep end of the pool. According to Jose Pereira, he spent more than 20 minutes underwater. The neighbor managed to pull him from the bottom of the pond and with the help of a policeman arrived in the meantime to get him out of the pond.
The child was taken to Sainte-Justine Hospital, and there were still fears for his life late Sunday evening, especially as he no longer showed vital signs when he was taken into care. Paramedics charged him.
“I ran, I did my best, but it seems that it was not enough. I have my CPR course, if we could find it earlier, maybe I could do something,” Jose Pereira regrets.
twice in two days
An investigation has been opened by the Ville de Repentini City Police Department (SPVR) to try to clarify the circumstances of the event. This is the second drama of its kind in less than two days in Quebec.
A 4-year-old drowned Saturday afternoon in a residential pool in Saint-Lambert on Montreal’s south coast. Once again, the family was present at the time of the tragedy.
Once again, the on-going investigation should enable the drowning to be determined. What are the entrances to the pool? What was the monitoring? “This is what the investigation will be able to determine in the coming hours and days,” said Francois Boucher, public relations officer for the Longueuil conglomerate police department.
Lack of supervision is a recurring factor
Raynald Hawkins, CEO of Save the Lives for 32 years, remembers that the number one factor in explaining child drownings remains a lack of supervision.
Once the baby learns to walk, we teach him that he cannot play in the street, but we do not have the same interest in water activities.
Raynald Hawkins, Executive Director, Save Lives Society
Year after year, about eight children lose their lives this way in Quebec. The 4-year-old’s drowning in St. Lambert on Saturday was the first for a child in a residential pool in the county this year, with there have already been 19 drownings.
“It’s always sad to see the effect it has on kids because they don’t necessarily always care about the risks ascribed to swimming,” explains Raynald Hawkins.
When questioned a few moments after the news of the sinking at the Repentini, Raynald Hawkins declined to speculate on the causes of the accident, but the fact that he fell into a swimming pool that apparently wasn’t open yet leaves him thinking the boy didn’t have him. Intent they end up in the water.
Nothing currently indicates these two tragedies are due to missing or mismatched fences, but Raynald Hawkins remembers that all owners of residential pools built prior to 2010 will eventually have to ensure they are installed and eventually restrict access to children.
In the context of the pandemic, which is characterized by an increase in the cost of building materials, a shortage of labor and an increase in demand for residential swimming pools, the deadline for compliance with the new regulations, tentatively scheduled for 1Verse July 2023 is September 30, 2025.
- Percentage of children among drowning victims
Source: Save Lives Quebec Association
- Percentage of drowning cases of children under the age of five attributable to lack of supervision or distraction
Source: Save Lives Quebec Association