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8-year-old girl drowns in Toshimaen pool

15 Comments

An eight-year-old girl drowned after apparently getting trapped under an inflatable float in a pool at Toshimaen amusement park in Tokyo’s Nerima Ward on Thursday.

The body of Yuka Morimoto was found by lifeguards under the float during a routine inspection at around 2 p.m., park officials said. At the time, she had been playing in the Fuwa Fuwa Water Land section of the amusement park and seven lifeguards were on duty, watching the pool.

The floats are part of an attraction, called “Big Island” and can be walked on. The deepest part of the pool is 1.9 meters.

Morimoto, who came to the pool for the day from Saitama Prefecture with her parents and young sister, was wearing a life jacket which is required of all people entering the pool. Police suspect she got stuck under the equipment and was unable to surface.

At the time of the accident, there were about 3,800 people at the pool. Park officials said all pools were closed Friday while investigations continued. They will reopen Saturday but Fuwa Fuwa Water Land will remain closed.

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15 Comments
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This is really tragic. She followed the rules but I guess freak accidents happen. I hope the pool wasn't overcrowded, but there's not enough information to speculate. The poor little girl. RIP.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Seven lifeguards were on duty, watching the pool...obviously not hard enough...

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

 hope the pool wasn't overcrowded, but there's not enough information to speculate. 

Hmmm

At the time of the accident, there were about 3,800 people at the pool. 

I think that there's enough to speculate.

What surprises me is how deep the water is - most pools in Japan don't have enough water to down a piglet.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Not pointing fingers as there is plenty to go around, but come on 3800 folks at on time in a pool supervised by 7 and not one person saw or said anything. Hmmm the math does not add up, that's about 542 people per lifeguard to cover...

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Saw this on the news last night. The floats are like big inflatable mattresses joined together. If there were any number of people in the pool (and in the summer hols, I imagine there were) it would be all too easy for a small child to slip under one of the floats unnoticed. Parents looking for her simply wouldn't see her, and the lifejacket would likely hinder her movements making it harder for her to get out again. The floats need to be triangle- or cone-shaped underneath, so that small bodies can't get trapped under them.

At the time of the accident, there were about 3,800 people at the pool.

I imagine that means at all the pools - I understand Toshimaen has a number of pools (5?6?), and this one costs extra to get in. Even so, that's a lot of people.

The seven life guards were watching the Fuwa Fuwa Pool. There would have been other life guards watching the other pools - the complex is huge.

What should have been a happy family day turned into a tragedy. Poor Yuka, and her parents.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

@Ah_so

I think they mean the entire waterpark had 3800 people. While that's a lot, the water park is huge. I haven't been there in years but I think it could accommodate that many people reasonably. When I said overcrowded, I meant was the specific pool the girl was swimming in above capacity? 7 Lifeguards on one single pool is pretty decent unless it was absolutely packed (which we don't know). It's entirely possible this is a freak accident. I was a lifeguard back in the states for a few years and while no one luckily ever drowned (small town), accidents do happen and sometimes it's just a matter of circumstance.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Growing up in SoCal where we could pretty swim year round if it was sunny, we only use floats in pools with less people as it was rude if the pool was crowded and you ram into people. I can't believe they use them in pools here when you are standing shoulder to shoulder with other people.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It's easy to find photos of the pool in question on Google. It looks like an Olympic sized swimming pool, hence the depth, with an inflatable playground floating in the middle. There are several large inflatable platforms in between the slides, trampolines, etc. that make up the playground. The idea is that its something that kids bounce around on and jump off into the water. The platforms look easily big enough to get trapped under. They should probably have nets to keep kids going under them, fine nets that would not tangle a hand or foot. I'm sure swimming under the mats was fun for some of the kids, something that some kids would boast about no doubt, but the ability to go under them has ultimately led to this tragedy.

As a parent myself, it would be nice for play facilities to be designed so that you do not have to watch your kids literally 100% of the time. Not because of a lack of love or to let the worst parents zombie out on smartphones, but because there'll always be split seconds when you lose sight of your kids and its tiring being constantly on edge. For me, that is not what a leisure pool should be for.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I'm sure swimming under the mats was fun for some of the kids, something that some kids would boast about no doubt, but the ability to go under them has ultimately led to this tragedy.

I think this is what happened. Problem is tho, she was wearing a life jacket. You can't stay submerged enough to clear (dive under) the floats if you're wearing one.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Horrible, thoughs with the family

0 ( +0 / -0 )

RIP little one.

You'd think, wouldn't you, that pool operators would subscribe to a national association which would promote good design, safety and practices, and that those associations would liaise internationally to ensure these episodes are minimised, globally. I guess not. Step forward and be counted, Japan association of leisure pool operators... If you exist...

And, Minister for Sport, Minister for Cool Japan, any comment? Any promise of an enquiry into standards?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

My daughter & I were at Toshimaen Pool yesterday and we were in the exact area and witnessed this tragic event. The area where this occurred had 7 lifeguards & about 275 people playing in it. It consists of 3 pools & 2 inflatable bouncy castles.

All people must wear a life jacket at all times in this area. Unfortunately this time the life jacket is what killed this poor girl as it kept her pinned up underwater against the underside of the inflatable mat.

There are several signs & various announcements to remind parents to keep a constant eye on their children in this area. Unfortunately it only takes a few seconds for a child to slip away and out of sight in these crowded pools.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How could this scenario not have been considered when designing he park? It doesn't take much imagination to consider that a lifejacket would be more of a hinderance than a lifesaving device in an area full of wide pontoons. RIP little one; sadly, once again, customer safety was disregarded in lieu of profit focus.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

From the description, it sounds like in this case the life jacket contributed to the accident. They should re-think the combination of the life-jacket rule and the presence of things that one can dive under.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Parents WATCH Your kids!!!

Parents Do your Job!!

11 year old the day before... Crazy...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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