Lifeguards need help
I agree totally with Peter Lavac's view about the lack of professionalism among lifeguards in Hong Kong ('Proper training can prevent pool tragedies', South China Morning Post, April 20).
Some 13 years ago, shortly after being trained in lifesaving, I saw a child drowning in a manned swimming pool in Kowloon. He was struggling in deep water. When his father tried to rescue him, he was pulled and grabbed by the child. I swam behind the child, pulling him away from his dad and to safety.
While a lot of swimmers around us witnessed the entire incident, none of the lifeguards saw it! What would have happened if I hadn't been there? Sadly, year after year, we continue to hear about how lives are lost in manned swimming pools, sometimes because of shortcomings on the part of the lifeguards.
Having been trained in lifeguarding by the Lifesaving Society in Hong Kong and later by the American Red Cross in the US, I have noticed the stark contrast between the two.
Not only were the training methods and skills taught by the American Red Cross more advanced, the seriousness of lifeguarding - which, after all, deals with life threatening situations - was also stressed throughout the curriculum.
Undoubtedly, there are good lifeguards in Hong Kong. But the fundamental deficiencies in the training curriculum and the way that lifeguards are managed need to be improved. Perhaps it's time for the responsible authorities to admit their limitations and seek advice from foreign experts.
ANDREW LEE Kowloon