Drowning suspected in young girl’s death at Royalton

Photo of the jacuzzi where the incident allegedly occurred. (contributed)
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By Shermain Bique-Charles

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What was supposed to be a vacation in the sun for a German couple has ended tragically, after one of their two daughters died on Sunday afternoon.

The police have confirmed that a five-year-old girl died at Royalton Antigua resort just after midday on yesterday.

Police Public Relations Officer, Inspector Frankie Thomas told Observer that the child appeared to have drowned.

A Royalton staff member told our newsroom that the incident has touched the hearts of everyone at the hotel.

 “As we speak there are people who are still crying. Guests, hotel workers, security. It was a sad thing to see. I am also shaken up by that, too. To lose a child in that way cannot be easy,” the worker, who preferred remain anonymous, said.

That individual explained that when the accident occurred, the deceased and her older sister were bathing in the Jacuzzi — a pool that is off limits for children.

“It seems their parents were on the beach. They must have left their parents and went into the jacuzzi. They weren’t supposed to be in that pool. There is a pool allocated to children,” the employee said.

Reports are that the child may have hit her head while playing with her sibling, and was submerged under the water.

“I heard a loud screaming. When everyone rushed, the child was in the pool. The lifeguard was trying to help…they were pumping her chest. They were trying to resuscitate her. Another guest who seems to know about these things were pumping her chest, too…she wasn’t moving,” the resort worker said.

“Alas, they tried. They tried so hard. The mother was just screaming. By the time EMS came her body was already turning blue. She was a beautiful girl. Long hair, clear skin, so, so pretty. This is very sad. We are all sad…”.

The German family had only spent one day of their vacation in Antigua and Barbuda when the tragedy struck.

Meanwhile, Minister of Tourism Charles “Max” Fernandez said he will be meeting with the family of the deceased today.

“The first thing I want to do is to sympathise with the family and express our condolences. There are a number of protocols in place for when these things occur. We will find out in what ways we can help them,” he said.

Although the investigation is still ongoing, Fernandez said his ministry will reach out to all hotels, to ensure that lifeguards are on duty.

“If they don’t have a lifeguard on duty then they should make it known to the guests,” he said.

Fernandez also shared that he has been in touch with the police and authorities at Mount St John’s Medical Center in order to be kept abreast of the developments.

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