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calendar   Saturday - December 27, 2008

Heartbroken parents of drowned toddler question Disneyland Paris.

Sorry about the little boy.
Am posting this as what I see as yet another example of people who god forbid should ever accept the idea that maybe just maybe they share some responsibility. Maybe not all of it but some of it. 

The parents of a five-year-old boy who drowned in a hotel swimming pool while on a dream Christmas trip to Disneyland Paris are demanding answers over the accident.

Last Updated: 10:23PM GMT 26 Dec 2008

Karen Canning and David Bradley from Derry told how their son Colum Canning fell into the pool at the Explorers hotel last week and the couple have demanded to know why a lifeguard was not in place.

Colum, who had autism, and his twin brother Kieran should have been celebrating their birthday today, the family said.

The heartbroken couple said they had struggled through Christmas caring for Kieran and their seven-year-old daughter Caitlin and now face the prospect of burying Colum on Sunday.

“Although he suffered from autism he was such a smart child, a real thinker who may not have been able to communicate like others but certainly knew everything that was going on.

“Christmas was always such a special time for us as a family and all the children were so excited at this time of year, with the boys celebrating their birthday on St Stephen’s Day.

“In the past few days we have been determined for our children and others to have a normal a day as possible as this is what Colum would have wanted.

“Although we both keep thinking that when tomorrow comes he is going to be around just like he always was.”

The staff at the Thomas Cook-owned three-star Explorers Hotel close to the Disney resort confirmed there had been no lifeguard on duty when Colum fell into the water after disappearing from his mother’s view shortly after the family arrived at the venue last Thursday.

The tour operator has confirmed that there was no lifeguard on duty at the time but said that this was in keeping with French law.

In the aftermath of the tragedy a spokesperson for travel agent Thomas Cook said their deepest sympathy was with the family.

Colum is to be buried in Derry on Sunday.

But the couple said they would be demanding a check of safety measures in the hotel.

“Colum made such a difference to all our lives and we want him to still make a difference now,” they said.

“Under no circumstances do we want another family to have to go through what we are going through now.”

They added: “We are very concerned to learn there was no lifeguard on duty. As parents our first instinct is always to protect our children. Therefore, it is very difficult for us to come to terms with the fact there was no-one around to look after them in the pool.”

I have never been a parent so I’m not clear on how this works.  OK, so as I understand it these folks are poolside or in the area of the pool? There was “no-one around to look after them in the pool.” I’m lost.  No-One around?  Sure there was.  They are called mom and dad.  I mean, is it usual for a five year old to be left unattended? I do understand how little kids will wander away if you blink.  I suppose I understand ppl taking for granted that there might be a life guard poolside. Shouldn’t that have been checked out first?  Sadly, there wasn’t any here.  But I just don’t understand how the kid could have gone very far in the time frame they are speaking of. If they were near a pool and could see it, could they not see there wasn’t any guard?  And if you’re with a little kid and you’re near water, wouldn’t your first instinct be to hold the child’s hand?  Just as a precaution?
And what other “safety checks” of the hotel are they “DEMANDING?” Fire escapes? Elevators?  How about the state of the kitchen?  They seem to “demand” a lot here. 

The parents revealed how the child went missing within seconds, before the tragedy quickly unfolded.

“Karen had only turned around to fetch a camera to take a picture of our three children and when she turned she could only see two faces.

“She instantly panicked and could not find him anywhere. At first she thought he was just hiding. The employee on duty at the desk near the pool said he did not see him.

“Not long after Karen noticed the commotion by the pool and just knew it was Colum. He was taken to hospital but there was nothing they could do. It is hard to comprehend that this has happened to our baby and it is still not real.”

Leader of the nationalist SDLP Mark Durkan is understood to be assisting the family and they are now demanding answers over the circumstances of their son’s death and over safety measures in the hotel.

The parents added: ”We will be demanding answers and we will not be letting this go.

“Colum’s life must not be in vain and we would hope that lessons will be learned from our son’s death that will save lives in the future.

“We fought all our lives for Colum we are not going to stop now.”

Colum was quickly discovered in the water by another guest who jumped in and dragged him out but he had already lost consciousness.

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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 12/27/2008 at 10:15 AM   
Filed Under: • Miscellaneous •  
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