Page last updated at 14:15 GMT, Thursday, 9 July 2009 15:15 UK

Firm fined 150k over pool injury

Picture of Splashlands
Chad Mole was found under the water at the holiday camp

A caravan park company has been fined £150,000 after a seven-year-old boy suffered brain injuries in a swimming pool not properly manned by lifeguards.

Chad Mole, seven, from Halesowen, near Birmingham, was found in the Jacuzzi-style "bubble lounger" at the Trecco Bay in Porthcawl, Bridgend county.

Chad was revived but oxygen starvation left him severely disabled.

Upper Bay Ltd said it would appeal against its conviction at Cardiff Crown Court over the October 2005 incident.

The court heard that Chad suffered "catastrophic brain injuries" and would never recover.

Upper Bay Ltd was convicted by a jury in June of failing to ensure Chad was not exposed to risks to his health and safety.

There was no system where people would react properly when they saw a young boy in a dangerous part of the pool
Ian Pringle QC, prosecuting

Judge Stephen Hopkins QC also told the company to pay costs of £182,500.

Ian Pringle QC, prosecuting, said: "His father Brian was in the pool with both his young sons at Splashland on the caravan park when Chad wandered off.

"He found his way to the pool's bubble lounger, a Jacuzzi-type area near the deep end. Another holidaymaker found Chad underneath the surface.

"He scooped him out of the water and shouted for help. Chad was limp and his lips were blue."

The court heard a lifeguard should have been on a high chair overlooking the pool and another lifeguard patrolling.

Mr Pringle said: "This accident was caused by the company not having a proper system of work.

"They did not have sufficient lifeguards on duty.

Non-swimmers

"There was no system where people would react properly when they saw a young boy in a dangerous part of the pool."

Chad and his four-year-old brother JJ were both non-swimmers, neither had buoyancy aids and there was a sign saying children under eight should be accompanied by an adult.

The court heard that a lifeguard at the pool saw Chad alone and told him to go back to his father, but failed to ensure he went.

Mr Pringle added: "There was a total lack of care in ensuring that this young boy didn't have a risk of drowning.

"To compound it all, even when he was spotted he was told to go back to his dad and nothing was done.

"It was wholly, wholly inadequate that there was no lifeguard on duty on a high chair and no lifeguard patrolling up and down by the bubble lounger."

Judge Hopkins said: "The boy suffered catastrophic brain damage.

"The company breached its own safety policy by failing to have sufficient lifeguards on duty.

"Nobody was supervising the deep end of the pool at that time.

'Safe environment'

"The fact that there were so few people in the water may have been a factor in the lifeguards failing to properly supervise the deep end of the pool."

An Upper Bay Ltd spokesman said after the firm was convicted that "the tragic accident has deeply affected and saddened everyone at Trecco Bay".

The company added: "We have always provided the necessary resources and regular training to ensure all staff can carry out their duties competently, professionally and above all to ensure the safety of both our customers and staff.

"We have also maintained that we have the highest safety standards to ensure the 175,000 annual users of the pool can enjoy swimming in a safe and secure environment."

Bridgend council said it "welcomed" the result of the court case.

"It sends out a strong message about the importance of private companies maintaining high standards of health and safety and demonstrates that there is no substitute for thorough and appropriate risk assessment," a spokesman said.

"This was a particularly difficult and sensitive case, and our close working relationship with the various parties involved contributed significantly towards the outcome.

'Deeply affected'

"Our thoughts remain with Chad Mole and his family."

A spokesman for Upper Bay Ltd, said the firm would appeal against the guilty verdict.

He said: "We strongly believe we have always provided the necessary resources and regular training to ensure all staff can carry out their duties competently, professionally and, above all, to ensure the safety of both our customers and staff.

"We have always maintained that we have the highest safety standards to ensure the 175,000 annual visitors of the pool can enjoy swimming in a safe and secure environment.

"This tragic accident at Splashland in 2005 has deeply affected and saddened everyone at Trecco Bay and our sincere and heartfelt thoughts are, as always, with Chad's family at this time."



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SEE ALSO
Firm guilty on boy's pool injury
18 Jun 09 |  Wales
Lifeguards blamed for pool injury
09 Jun 09 |  Wales
Boy suffered brain injury at pool
08 Jun 09 |  Wales
Boy dragged from pool 'serious'
18 Oct 05 |  South East Wales

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