By Sarah Townsend
Three individuals and two companies were charged with involuntary manslaughter and are accused of negligently failing in their duties
There was a shortage of lifeguards monitoring the swimming pool the day a Palestinian boy drowned at an aqua park outside Doha in 2012, it has been reported.
Doha’s criminal court has heard new witnesses in the case of the boy, who was pronounced dead in hospital after lifeguards and park-goers unsuccessfully tried to resuscitate the child.
Three individuals and two companies were charged with involuntary manslaughter and are accused of negligently failing in their duties at Aqua Park in Qatar.
The defendants include an administrative supervisor and two contractors – a lifeguard and Doha Clinic paramedic. The park’s owner, Hala Co. for Projects Aqua Park, and Kuwait-based Al Jazeera Co. for Commercial Projects – which manages the property – are also named as defendants. All parties plead not guilty.
The first hearing took place last November and was followed by several sessions before this week’s hearing, during which the court heard new details about the boy’s death, Doha News reported.
The court heard that there was a shortage of lifeguards monitoring the pool, and questions were raised about the adequacy of Aqua Park’s first aid equipment and the training of its medical contractors, the newspaper said.
A lifeguard witness said usually four or five individuals keep an eye on the pool where the boy drowned. But on May 4 2012, the day he died, only two lifeguards were on duty, he said.
The newspaper notes that Aqua Park officials dispute this allegation, claiming in response to a lawsuit from the mother of the child in 2012 that six lifeguards were on duty.
However, the lifeguard defendant responded that the young boy was playing near an adult pool without parental supervision or wearing a required buoyancy aid.
The paramedic and representatives for the two companies reportedly failed to attend Sunday’s session.
The park reopens for the 2015 summer season on Thursday. It first opened in 2010, and that same year an 11-year-old boy reportedly broke a rib and injured a kidney after falling off one of the water shuts, according to Doha News.