Death of 5-year-old girl who drowned in condo pool resulted in tragic mishap

Jean Iau
The times of the straits
October 18, 2021

The death of a five-year-old girl who drowned while alone by a swimming pool has been called a tragic mishap.

Presenting the findings of the coroner’s inquest into the death of Aurelia Liu Jiabao, Coroner Kamala Ponnampalam said Monday, October 18, that no foul play was suspected in the girl’s death.

His family was not in court to hear the findings.

The coroner called the incident “yet another stark reminder that children are impulsive and unpredictable.”

“In the case of a swimming pool, a child may not appreciate how quickly he can be defeated if he inadvertently falls into deep water,” said Coroner Kamala, who added that a careful adult should be present to warn children and prevent an unfortunate incident.

The court heard that Aurelia had taken three swimming lessons, but her swimming instructor had previously testified that she could not swim or balance in the water.

At around 6 p.m. on October 8 last year, the young girl, who was 1.06m tall, and her mother, Ms. Lu Ying, made their way to the pools at their condominium, The Asana, near Farrer Road.

There were a couple of adults in the 1.2m deep pool and Aurelia waded into the 0.8m deep jacuzzi while her mom watched.

At around 6:10 pm, Ms. Lu had to go to the bathroom and told her daughter that she was going up to their apartment.

Ms. Lu said that she felt comfortable leaving the child alone in the pool as there were adults nearby. She didn’t ask them to watch the girl.

As seen in CCTV footage, the couple exited the pool about a minute after the woman left.

The footage shows Aurelia with a blue swim board in the hot tub, then walking along the edge of the pool before sitting on the shallow edge. She then lies on her stomach and tries to float.

At around 6:19 p.m., the girl can be seen walking to the other side of the pool holding the swim board.

About a minute later, small movements are observed in the pool water at the front of the pool. Then the blue swim board floats on the water and a few seconds later the water is still.

Ms. Lu returned to the pool around 6:31 pm and could not find her daughter. She asked the security guard for help.

Around 6:35 p.m., they discover Aurélia submerged face down at the bottom of the swimming pool.

A resident performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Aurelia and an ambulance arrived shortly after. Aurelia was unconscious when she was taken to KK Hospital for Women and Children.

Her family were told she had a pulse but was brain dead. They pulled her out of fan support on October 11 last year.

An autopsy revealed that Aurelia’s cause of death was drowning.

The coroner concluded that the child may have had difficulty trying to float using her swim board or had slipped off the narrow ledge of the pool when she walked along its edge.

“She must have panicked and started to swallow water before sinking to the bottom of the pool,” added the coroner, who expressed his condolences to the family.

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