A mother in north-central Vietnam passed out upon finding her ten-year-old son dead on Tuesday at the bottom of a pool where the boy had been taking swimming lessons.
On a routine day for Ho Thi Nhung, a mother in Ha Tinh Province on the north-central coast, she went to pick her ten-year-old son up from his summer swimming class at a local pool.
What Nhung had not imagined was that she would find her son dead at the bottom of the pool with on-duty lifeguards and swimming teachers unaware on Tuesday morning.
Nhung’s son N.A.D. had been attending swimming classes at the pool of the Ha Tinh Vocational College of Technology until the fateful incident.
According to D.’s family, the monthly fee for D.’s swimming course was VND400,000 (US$18).
Employees at the pool said D.’s class had ended ten minutes before the boy’s body was discovered at the bottom of the pool.
“Our two lifeguards went inside for a break after the class ended, as they thought all the kids had left the pool,” the employees explained. “Nobody would have thought that such an accident could happen."
Ho Thi Nhung (lying) passes out after finding her son’s body at the bottom of the pool at the Ha Tinh Vocational College of Technology in Ha Tinh Province on Tuesday. Photo: Tuoi Tre
The pool at the Ha Tinh Vocational College of Technology is 1,200 square meters in area, including sub-pools for childrens and adults that can hold up to over 100 people at a time.
Four swimming teachers and two lifeguards are employed to supervise swimmers.
According to Nguyen Trong Tan, vice chancellor of the college, the pool was privately funded and inaugurated on April 30.
Tan added that the college was not responsible for the pool’s operation, as it only collected a monthly sum of VND10 million ($450) from Le Van Ha, the biggest stakeholder in charge of managing the pool.
“In the contract, we are responsible for seeking permission from authorities to build the pool, while Ha was responsible for all the paperwork and employment of the staff,” Tan said. “Ha has not submitted to us the pool’s operating license yet."
Tan admitted, however, that it was the college’s fault for having allowed the pool to operate without a license for nearly two months.
Vo Phuc Ha, deputy chief of office at the Ha Tinh Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, confirmed that the department had not received any application for an operating license from the pool and said authorities had temporarily closed down the facility for further investigation.
C., a pool owner in Ho Chi Minh City, said in order to get an operating license in Vietnam, a pool must meet strict safety standards and requirements, such as a legal representative with a bachelor’s degree in pool management, a safety and hygiene certificate, as well as several other supplementary facilities.
The pool’s swimming teachers and lifeguards must also be certified by the Vietnam Aquatic Sports Association, and there must be at least one lifeguard for every 200 square meters of pool area, according to C.