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UPDATED: 'Lessons to be learnt' from death of Hindley Green toddler
Updated 11:12am Thursday 15th May 2014 in News
A TODDLER who drowned while on a family holiday walked into the pool after his father and sister, an inquest has heard.
Area coroner Alan Walsh concluded that two-year-old Loui Aspinall died as a result of a tragic accident after walking alone into the pool at the Houda Golf and Beach Resort in Skanes, Tunisia.
The inquest at Bolton Coroners Court heard how Loui's father Gavin Aspinall had taken him into the pool to go to the toilet before lifting him onto the side near to where his mother, Emma Hollingsworth, was sunbathing on September 25 last year.
Mr Aspinall said he was going swimming and returned to the pool but Miss Hollingsworth did not hear him and was unaware that Loui was next to her.
Mr Walsh said: "No one noticed Loui enter the pool and seven minutes passed before two little boys noticed him and thought he was doing handstands.
"They drew the attention of David Ray who pulled Loui from the pool and attempts were made to resuscitate him but sadly Loui died."
The inquest heard from several witnesses who saw what happened after Loui was pulled from the pool and claimed they saw a lifeguard performing adult CPR.
A statement from Sally Hasketh, a British nurse who helped to try and resuscitate Loui, was read out to the court and stated that a man tapped her on the shoulder and told her he was a doctor.
He handed her some equipment but when she asked for oxygen he shrugged and walked away.
Another witness said the lifeguards were often sat at a table by the pool in the days leading up to the incident but the day afterwards things changed and there were lifeguards stationed at every post.
Mr Walsh asked James Beck, an operations manager at TUI UK, through whom the family booked their holiday, whether an audit has been carried out as a result of Loui's death.
Mr Beck replied: "Of course there was an investigation but no I'm not aware of any changes to the procedures at the hotel."
An audit by Argent, a health and safety company, on behalf of British tour companies in March 2013 said that the resort had lifeguards on duty while the pool was open who were trained in first aid and there was resuscitation equipment that was positioned around the pool.
Claire McKinney, the managing director, said: "We include these points because some tour operators ask for them to be considered. But they are not part of the guidelines highlighted by the Federation of Tour Operations."
Mr Walsh concluded that he will write a report to suggest that the best practice guidelines of the FTO - that British tour operators follow - should be reviewed.
He will place particular emphasis on the guidelines for emergency procedure, the provision of lifeguards, their training in first aid, the provision of resuscitation equipment and the provision of life-saving equipment.
He also said that an audit of the Houda Golf and Beach Resort should be carried out and that it should have been done sooner.
He said: "I will also send a copy of this report to the relevant minister in central government as even though he may not have jurisdiction in foreign countries I feel he should be made aware of this.
"From Loui's very short life and extremely sad death there are lessons to be learnt and matters that need to be brought to the attention of others."
Loui’s parents, of Atherton Road, Hindley Green, have launched a petition calling for fully trained lifeguards to be on duty at all times and to have medical equipment – including defibrillators and oxygen – at all holiday resort pools and public pools in the UK and abroad.
Speaking after the hearing, Gavin and Emma said: "You expect that lifeguards are guaranteed but they are not.
"We are in 2014 and many people don't think that lifeguards won't be there. It's not law and that's what we are trying to change it.
"We can't believe that they haven't changed anything. It's disgusting.
"People need to learn from these mistakes."
To view it online go to http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/64474.