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Clamp vowed on unlicensed pools after teenager drowns

Bahrain News
Sun, 05 Aug 2018
By Mohammed Al A’Ali

ACTION has been pledged against unlicensed swimming pools in the Northern Governorate after a teenager drowned in a private facility.

Abrar Shubair, 15, was reportedly alive when he was pulled out of the Taitoon Swimming Pool in Malkiya, but attempts to resuscitate him failed and he was declared dead at around 5am yesterday.

A 21-year-old man, who had rented the pool for a group of 18 people, said the teenager was on a visit from Pakistan and had come to the pool with his uncle.

“Everyone, including the uncle, left the pool to shower and change as it was 3.20am and nearing prayer time,” said the man, who did not want to be identified.

“But when my brother came out of the toilet, he saw somebody at the bottom of the pool.

“He tried to pull the youth out of the water and when I came out and heard my brother shouting I rushed to the rescue.”

He said Abrar was breathing when he was pulled out of the water but frothing at the mouth.

“We called others for help. We saw a policeman outside and he helped us call an ambulance and alert the police.

“But Abrar died before the paramedics arrived.

“He was set to return to Pakistan within a few hours after spending his holiday here.”

Northern Municipal Council chairman Mohammed Buhamood told the GDN that owners of unlicensed swimming pools had to be held responsible for any accidents happening at their facilities.

Most of the private swimming pools in Bahrain are located in the Northern Governorate known for its country-side and farms.

“Earlier in the year, we inspected all the swimming pools in the governorate and found them complying with safety rules and regulations from a technical aspect,” said Mr Buhamood.

“But, most are unlicensed as they are located in residential areas or are part of farms which means they are operating unofficially.

“The owner of a swimming pool that is unlicensed shares the blame for any injuries or fatalities that may occur since he is marketing his facility on social media and attracting customers with cheaper rates.

“A clampdown will be conducted on unlicensed swimming pools in the coming days.”

Mr Buhamood said there are 56 swimming pools in the governorate, 17 of which are licensed, 22 need renewals and 17 that have never been licensed.

In 2016, there were 61 swimming pools with 28 being licensed and 43 operating without permission.

The pool owner Nadhal Al Taitoon said the facility met all the safety requirements, including rescue equipment and first aid.

“When people hire a pool they prefer privacy and don’t like anyone bothering them.

“In cases like these, people who were with the teenager should throw light on what went wrong.”

At least four incidents of drownings have been reported so far this year of which two of the victims were children.

Five-year-old Ali Jassim Al Hesabi drowned in a pool at an illegal construction site in Dar Kulaib on March 19, while 18-month-old Sayed Mahmood Sayed Ali died at Salmaniya Medical Complex after he fell into a fish tank at his uncle’s house in Duraz on March 15.

On May 16, a 21-year-old Bahraini drowned in a swimming pool of a gym in Al Farafa area, and on May 7 a domestic worker drowned in a swimming pool of a house in Barbar.

The GDN reported in March that officials have called for a national strategy to curb drowning mortality, after a Health Ministry report for 2003-2015 revealed that an average of 16 people drown annually in Bahrain.

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