*Update: The little girl died a week later. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon (we belong to Allah and to Him we return)*
I watched a little girl drown today, in the Pool at Marina Bandar Rowdah. I think she was about 8 years old, with long brown hair, a cute smile, and creamy, light brown skin.
She drowned right in front of me, right beside my swimming, breathing, squealing daughter, there, in the shallow end of the pool, where she could have just stood up, in her little white panties. Eyes wide open, arms drifting restlessly, hair splayed around her head, and a flotilla of bubbles leaking from her nose and mouth.
The last I saw of her she was being carried away, with blue lips, and a blue face, in the blue clad arms of the responding Paramedics. I heard they managed to get her back in the Ambulance, but as she was not breathing for 15+ minutes, I suspect there is a chance of brain damage. Maybe she died, I don't know.
I, for my part, watched her drown, and didn't realise what was happening. Drowning in real life looks absolutely nothing like what you, or I might imagine it to. There was no screaming, no thrashing, no splashing. There was just this gorgeous little girl, swimming gracefully around under water, slowly drowning, there in the shallow end of the pool.
It's my fault as much as it is anyones. The little drowning girl swam over to my daughter, and grabbed her, trying to pull herself up, or as my daughter and I perceived it, pulling my daughter under. My daughter yelped, screamed, and then the kid let go, and rolled over in the water, facing me. She looked right at me, eyes wide as dinner plates, and face placid and calm.
I, dismissing what was going on as standard-issue pool roughhousing, looked at this placid faced, underwater, eyes wide open child, and she looked back at me, locked eyes with me, and I didn't see it. I, asshole that I am, wagged my finger at the drowning, dying kid, and said (in a scolding voice that I'm sure she couldn't hear, being under water, and fucking drowning) "don't do that!" It never even crossed my mind that she might be drowning.
Distracted, by my daughter's yelping about something or other, gathered my kid up, and took her over to our table to strip off her water wings and get her changed to go home. As I gathered her up, I looked into the pool, and there was the girl, floating about a foot beneath the surface, bend over sort of backwards in the water, eyes staring at the sky, and little bubbles rising from her nose and mouth. And I thought to myself, "kids are so universally weird. I used to do that!" and then, wait for it. I WALKED AWAY. I walked away.
About a minute later all hell broke loose, when a friend noticed that the little girl was no longer swimming around under water, but was laying motionless on the bottom of the pool, eyes wide open.
I don't know if her parents were even aware that she was in the pool. They were sitting at the next table over to Stone, facing the Marina, not the pool. I don't know if the kid could swim, or not. I don't know if something else happened to her that precipitated the drowning. I do know that the kid was in the pool splashing around, and then drowning, for 15 minutes or more and that there was not a parent nearby, directly supervising.
There were 5-8 Adults in the pool at the time, and about 20-30 kids of varying sizes swimming around, screaming, laughing, jumping, fighting over toys, and splashing. There were maybe another 12 parents / adults watching the pool and kids, or sitting nearby. Not one of us realized the kid was drowning.
The Marina Staff were beyond useless. Flailing around, continuing to take orders for food, and standing by staring, as this little girl lay on the deck, not breathing, and various customers attempted to take control. A couple of Expat Women started CPR, and rolled the girl over on her side when she vomited. A guest in an Abaya came over and took over CPR, while other guests and staff from the some of the dive boats ran for their medical kit stored on the boats.
The Resuscitation equipment, when it arrived, came not from the marina, but from one of the Diving outfits who have boats at the Marina. The Marina staff, while well meaning, were totally clueless as to what to do about it. I pulled one of the senior guys aside about five minutes after they dragged the girl out of the pool, and asked if anyone had called an ambulance. he said, "No Need, those people over there are doing CPR?" I think I swore at him, then we called the ambulance. they showed up in ten minutes or so, it was a pretty fast response.
The Marina has plenty of signage pointing pointing out that swimming is at your own risk, and that they are not responsible for supervising your actions in the pool. The Marina does not have a lifeguard on duty, and I don't really think it would have changed anything, as there were so many people in the pool and so many kiddies running around. I don't think having a life guard would save many lives as it would only enable parents to pay even less attention to their children.
That said, the Marina did not appear to have any life saving equipment on hand near the pool, nor did they have any staff who are competent and CPR trained nearby. The little girl is only alive (or dead?) thanks to the heroics of the customers and the staff from a local dive company. It is pretty Obvious that the Marina has not drilled their staff on how to respond to a drowning incident or any other medical emergency. While I suspect that they do indeed have staff trained in CPR and first response, they were nowhere near where they were needed during the critical 15-20 minutes of the crisis.
My daughter has marks on her butt and thighs where the little girl grabbed her. It's unsettling. She keeps asking what happened to the girl. I don't have answers that go beyond the strictly scientific explanations of CPR and how drowning happens. How do you explain that to a three year old? As for me, I have the picture of the kid looking right at me, eyes locked onto mine, while I scolded her for trying to save herself.
Parents, watch your children.
Regarding commenting: While I understand that it isn't my fault, I cannot begin to tell you what a total asshole I feel like. I really fucked this one up, I just totally missed it. I already know I am an Asshole, so i don't need to hear it from you, and likewise, don't need to have a bunch of sunshine blown up my ass by well meaning friends. Cool?