Drowning girl rescue drama

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A LITTLE girl who almost drowned in a Sheffield swimming pool was saved by lifeguards who dived into the water and resuscitated her.

Charleigh O’Connell, aged 10, was playing with a friend in the wave pool at Hillsborough Leisure Centre when she got into difficulty and disappeared under the water.

Because the Norfolk Community Primary School pupil cannot swim she was unable to get to the surface and fell unconscious without anyone realising.

Lifeguards spotted her once the waves had stopped and dived into the pool to pull her to the side, where they resuscitated her before she was rushed to hospital.

Today Charleigh’s mum Jaki Taggart, 37, said she was grateful to the lifeguards – but concerned Charleigh was able to get into difficulty in the first place.

She said: “The lifeguards saved her life – we could have lost her - and I am really grateful to them,.

“But I want answers from the management of the pool. I am concerned at the length of time she was under the water before the lifeguards realised.

“The hospital said they think she would have been under for a couple of minutes because she was grey and had blue lips.

“I just want to make sure this can’t happen again.”

Charleigh, of Eastern Crescent, Arbourthorne, had been taken swimming by her mum’s friend and her daughter.

The adult was supervising them from the side of the pool but also didn’t spot that Charleigh had disappeared.

Mrs Taggart, a mum-of-three, said her daughter was recovering from her ordeal but had feared for her life.

She said: “She can remember being with her friend when a wave went over her head and she couldn’t get to the surface.

“She said she could remember a sense of spinning and that she thought she was going to die.

“Charleigh even said that in her head she said, ‘Bye mum’, and that’s all she can remember. To hear her say that was frightening. It shows how close we were to losing her.”

A spokeswoman for Hillsborough Leisure Centre said: “A 10-year-old girl was rescued from the pool at Hillsborough Leisure Centre.

“As per our standard poolside rescue procedures, quick-thinking staff pulled her from the water and administered CPR.

“The girl regained consciousness and was taken to hospital in an ambulance as a precaution.

“We have contacted the girl’s family and thankfully she is fit and well and back home after spending one night in hospital.

“The safety of our customers is paramount and in the latest certification scheme Hillsborough received one of the top four safety ratings in the country.”

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