Monday, 24 Jan 2022

Boy, 11, drowned in lagoon while desperate lifeguard ‘looked for his goggles’

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An 11-year-old British boy drowned in a lagoon while on holiday in France as a lifeguard was 'more concerned' in looking for his goggles, an inquest heard.

Jake Taylor died in a Paris hospital after slipping beneath the water in a busy swimming lagoon at the La Croix Du Vieux Pont campsite in northern France on August 22, 2019.

The boy, Hull, East Yorks., had been on holiday with his parents and four brothers at the time.

Rebecca Wilson, a paramedic on holiday at the campsite at the time, told the inquest she saw people giving the lad CPR on the beach and offered help, Hull Daily Mail reports.

She said the tragic youngster was pulled out of the water by a group of teenagers and when she arrived, there was no lifeguard present.

She told Hull Coroners Court: “I spoke to his mum who said Jake had been missing for five minutes and had pleaded with the lifeguard to look for Jake but seemed reluctant to.

”She said he was more concerned with trying to find his goggles.

"It was a group of teenagers who managed to pull Jake out and when I arrived there was no lifeguard present.

“I began chest compressions. I knew he needed further treatment but there was no medical equipment available at that point.

“After 30 minutes an anaesthetist turned up and I told him my concerns. Then police and medics arrived and I was ushered away.”

A criminal investigation into Jake's death was led by the French Gendarmerie which confirmed no criminal proceedings would be pursued against any involved parties.

Senior coroner Professor Paul Marks said: “The lifeguard’s explanation was that he needed his goggles to be able to see underwater but also felt it was difficult to search for Jake because there were so many clients in the water.”

The pathologist found Jake had died due to drowning and medical records showed he had no underlying health conditions.

Prof Marks praised Ms Wilson for her attempts to save Jake, saying: “The actions of Rebecca Wilson are worthy of special mention.

“She perceived the young man was in trouble and used all her skills and expertise to save his life. But she was frustrated by the lack of equipment and difficulties in liaising with French staff on hand.

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“I would like to commend her for her actions and her attempts to save Jake’s life.”

A heartbreaking statement from Jake’s parents Lance and Hannah Taylor was read out in court.

It said: “Where do we start with writing a character reference for the most caring and loving son. He had a heart of gold and cared about everyone.

“If you were feeling down he would make you smile and give you the most loving hugs. He would not do anything if he thought he might get hurt.

“He had a lot of friends at school and the teachers loved him. Jake enjoyed sports, such as cricket and football, but he enjoyed online gaming the most. He was such a kind hearted young man.”

No family members were present at the inquest, but solicitors said last year they were still seeking answers to exactly what happened.

They have been considering pursuing a civil case with the aim of getting "full and complete" answers as to what led Jake to tragically drown in what should have been a safe environment.

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