Staff at Suffolk holiday park where seven-year-old drowned yet to receive health and safety training 12 months on

Maya Kantengule, who drowned in the pool at Waveney River Centre. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary.

Maya Kantengule, who drowned in the pool at Waveney River Centre. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary. - Credit: Norfolk Constabulary.

A coroner has expressed concern that staff at a Suffolk holiday park are yet to be health and safety trained – more than 12 months after a girl drowned there.

Waveney River Centre.
Picture: James Bass

Waveney River Centre. Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press � 2016

A coroner has expressed concern that staff at a Suffolk holiday park are yet to be health and safety trained – more than 12 months after a girl drowned there.

Senior coroner Jacqueline Lake made the remarks at the end of a two-day inquest into the death of Maya Kantengule, who died after the incident at Waveney River Centre in Burgh St Peter on May 1, 2016.

The seven-year-old, who could not swim unaided, was found at the bottom of a swimming pool after it had been hired out for her best friend’s birthday party.

The parents of little Maya, who was a pupil at Dell Primary School, said on Thursday that her death had left a void that was “difficult to fill”.

In a family statement, they said: “We are still devastated following the passing of our beloved daughter, Maya Grace Kantengule.

“The pain is still unbearable and even though it’s been over year it feels like we relive her passing every day.”

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Giving evidence at the inquest, Waveney River Centre’s managing director James Knight said risk assessments had been in place for the pool.

He also said all health and safety guidelines were adhered to.

But following the tragedy last year, the inquest heard the park was given an improvement notice by the Health and Safety Executive after discovering a risk assessment was not in place for children’s pool parties.

Mrs Lake also expressed concerns that staff had not received formal training more than a year after Maya’s death, which was recorded as “accidental” by a jury.

However, she recognised an external provider had been brought in to update the park’s risk assessments, and that pool parties were no longer being held there.

She also noted health and safety training was being looked at, but was yet to be arranged.

“I am concerned that no member of staff at Waveney River Centre has undergone any formal health and safety training within an organisation that deals with members of the public,” she said.

Mrs Lake will now be putting a report together on the issue.

The inquest also heard no lifeguards were on duty on the day of the tragedy – as stated in the pool rules – but nine parents were watching the children from an observation area, with another watching from outside.

Mr Knight said the parents’ supervision on the day was not “adequate”, adding the rules stated an adult should have been in the pool with the children.

Jane Rainer, who organised the party for her daughter, told the inquest that she dived into the pool fully-clothed after spotting Maya underwater.

She was given CPR at the scene and taken to the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston but later died.