Girl, 7, in pool death tragedy

AN INVESTIGATION is underway after a seven-year-old girl apparently drowned in a public swimming pool in Essex.

Roddy Ashworth

AN INVESTIGATION is underway after a seven-year-old girl apparently drowned in a public swimming pool in Essex.

The tragedy happened shortly before 2pm on Saturday at the Blackwater Leisure Centre in Park Drive, Maldon.

The girl, from the Isle of Dogs area of London, was pronounced dead at Colchester General Hospital later despite extensive efforts to save her.

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A spokeswoman for Essex Ambulance Service said members of the St John's Ambulance Service - who are thought to have been at the venue for a judo event in an adjoining hall - were almost immediately at the scene as the youngster was rescued from the water.

Further ambulance teams were sent to the leisure centre including the Essex Air Ambulance, which then airlifted her to hospital. However she was pronounced dead at around 3pm.

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An ambulance spokeswoman said: “There was a drowning at the Blackwater Leisure Centre at Maldon. A young girl was rescued from the pool. Several attempts were made to resuscitate her by members of the public and two St John's Ambulance cadets.

“The young girl was flown to Colchester General Hospital where staff worked on her but she sadly died.”

Police said specially trained officers had been appointed to help the devastated parents of the child.

Yesterday Penny Channer, leader of Maldon District Council, which owns the leisure centre, said: “First and foremost we would like to offer our sincere and heartfelt condolences to all the girl's family and friends and those who were involved in the incident yesterday.

“Maldon District Council is currently undertaking a full and thorough investigation, working closely with the Health and Safety Executive and Essex Police,”

She said the investigation was being undertaken with the full co-operation of Leisure Connection, the company which runs the pool on the council's behalf.

Graham Farrant, the chief executive of Leisure Connection, said: “All our thoughts and sympathies are with the family and we will do anything we can to help the police to investigate this tragic incident.

“We are working closely with the police investigators and the local council, and the centre will remain closed while this vital investigation takes place.”

A police spokeswoman later said the death was not being treated as suspicious and the matter had been referred to the coroner's office and Maldon District Council for investigation.

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