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Girl drowns in school swimming pool

A school girl drowned ten days to her final primary school exams because no lifeguard or teacher was anywhere near the school’s swimming pool.

Now, Liverson Kijaguli and Florentina Masaka are mourning the death of their only child, Cynthia Msangi,a pupil  at St Teresa’s Girls Primary School.

St Teresa’s Girls Primary head teacher Gladys Kanyi refused to comment on the matter because she is not ”the owner of the school.”

She directed our reporter to the school chairman Mr Gituru Albanos who confirmed the incident but would only comment on it after getting consent from the Director of City Education.

Pupils told of how they noticed she was missing and looked for the lifeguard, Mr Stephen Bosire, who showed up from elsewhere in the school compound when it was too late.

Mr Bosire also declined to comment on the tragic incident.

“I remembered feeling someone or something touching my feet while in the pool. I thought they were frogs at the time only to learn it was Cynthia,” recalled a pupil.

Shockingly, Cynthia remained at the pool for about an hour.

When she was removed from the pool, her tummy was swollen and blood was oozing from her nose.

“He (the lifeguard) tried to breathe life into her helpless body but she appeared dead.  That is when we were directed to clear the pool side,” a pupill said.

They say their teacher (name withheld) asked them to pray for Cynthia who was “unwell” and ordered them to leave the school compound.

The following day, the pupils were turned away by guards at the gate who were under instructions not to let them in.

Ms Masaka could not understand why the school chose to rush her daughter to Guru Nanak Hospital which is over a kilometer away.

“I am told they hired a taxi and rushed her there. Yet there are several hospitals, including Getrude’s, Marie Stopes and St Teresa’s, that are located a  few metres from the school,” said the distraught mother.

A call from Cynthia’s class teacher at 3pm asking Ms Masaka to report to Guru Nanak hospital as a matter of urgency alarmed her. She arrived at the hospital unsure of what had befallen her child. There, she found teachers Mrs Mwaura and Mrs Kadima.

“They kept stalling when I insisted on knowing what had happened to my daughter and they kept referring me to the doctor in charge,” says Ms Masaka.

Documents from Guru Nanak hospital show that the child was brought in dead at the facility with foam coming from her mouth.

This is contrary to police statements recorded at Pangani Police Station by the Deputy headteacher Ms Mwaura and the lifeguard Mr Bosire.

The police OB number 81/1 reads that the lifeguard performed first aid on the girl before rushing her to hospital.

However Mr Kijaguli, the girl’s father says:“My daughter died in school due to negligence and carelessness. Had the supervisors been at the pool, she would still be alive”.

Postmortem results from Chiromo Mortuary where her body is preserved show Cynthia drowned to death.

Cynthia will be buried on  Saturday in Taita Taveta.