Boy drowned in pool

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 November, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 November, 1995, 12:00am

A VERDICT of death by misadventure was returned yesterday on a nine-year-old boy who drowned in a private swimming pool while two lifeguards were on duty.

Lui Ting-fung was found at the bottom of the pool by his sister Mei-chi, 13, the inquest heard.

The girl said she had taken her brother to swim at the pool in the Elegance Gardens housing block a few doors away from their home in Tuen Mun on May 27. It was the first time the children had been allowed to go swimming alone.

Mei-chi said while she was playing with a friend in the pool, she realised her little brother was under the water and screamed for help.

The court heard lifeguard Leung Siu-fung dived into the pool and dragged the boy out.

Mr Leung said Ting-fung was not breathing and had a weak pulse. He was certified dead at Tuen Mun Hospital.

The boy's father, Lui Wai-shing, 45, asked the lifeguard why he did not notice Ting-fung drowning.

But Coroner Warner Banks interrupted, telling Mr Lui the inquest's role was not to lay blame but to find the circumstances surrounding the boy's death.

Ting-fung's 40-year-old mother, Lai Wai-ling, asked the lifeguard if there was any difference to an onlooker between someone at the bottom of a pool after diving in and someone unconscious. He said the two positions were the same.

The inquest heard there were about 80 people swimming in the pool at the time and the water was about two metres at its deepest.

A medical report found the cause of the boy's death was drowning.

Outside the court, Ms Lai said she had gone with her children to swim there a few times before because she could buy tickets through a friend who lived in the apartment building.

'I always accompanied them in any extra-curricular activities but on that day I was just too tired to go with them,' she said.

She said she and her daughter had to see psychologists and social workers after the incident.

'The shadow will be on us forever. Sometimes, we blame ourselves for his death,' a heartbroken Ms Lai said.

The family was considering making a compensation claim from the company which managed the pool, she said.