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Verdict's in on how an eight year old boy died in Northallerton

Kaimen Ward

4:04pm 10th June 2011
(Updated 1:14pm 13th June 2011)

The verdict's in on how a 8 year old boy died at Hambleton Leisure Centre in Northallerton.

A 9 man jury at the inquest in to Kaimen Ward's death have ruled "misadventure."

Hambleton District Council will now consider in detail recommendations made by the coroner.

HM Coroner, Mr Michael Oakley, called on the Department of Culture, Media and Sport as well as the District Council to look again at a range of operating issues.

During the three day inquest, the coroner heard evidence from the teenagers who had been with Kaimen at the pool, the lifeguards and staff on duty that day, a national swimming industry expert and the Health and Safety Executive.

His recommendations suggest looking at the number of lifeguards on duty at swim sessions - including possibly increasing them to one lifeguard to ten swimmers; the close monitoring of people suspected of having drunk alcohol wanting to enter a pool; and the changeover of pool sessions between fun and swimming lessons.  He also asked that consideration be given to the installation of blinds at windows and lights to prevent glare and the fitting of sensor or visual aids to detect people in the water in difficulty.

“This was a tragic accident – a young boy lost his life in our pool,” said Hambleton Cabinet Member for Leisure and Health, Councillor Peter Wilkinson.

“What exactly happened running up to his death we will never know but I am confident that the staff and management at the centre did everything right that day.   The centre complies with all the current national guidelines – from the number of lifeguards on duty in any given circumstance to the policy on the age of children allowed into the pool unsupervised – and we are pleased that the coroner accepted that.

“It also has strict policies and procedures of its own and these were all complied with on August 25.   An independent review was conducted immediately after the incident by an industry expert – as well as by the Health and Safety Executive, and both concluded that it is a professionally run centre ‘comfortably’ complying with all regulations.

"However the coroner wants to raise the bar nationally on health and safety in swimming pools.  We have listened carefully to what he has had to say.  We will consider his recommendations in detail and respond as appropriate as soon as possible.

“Our thoughts remain with the family of Kaimen – his mother, father and twin sister, Hope Ella.”

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