The mother of a four-year-old girl who drowned in a crowded public pool has rushed to the defence of lifeguards saying “no one is to blame” for the freak accident.
Mia Harrison slipped below the water’s surface in the children’s pool at Orange Aquatic Centre in Central West NSW on Saturday afternoon.
Her heartbroken mother Mekaela, who was holding another friend’s baby at the time, said she still doesn’t know if she slipped or was knocked over.
“We don’t know exactly what happened, that is the horror of it,” she told the Daily Telegraph.
While investigators try and determine what went so horribly wrong, the grieving NSW mother said lifeguards did everything they could to save her baby girl.
“I’m aware a lot of people have said the lifeguards are to blame but that is not the case at all, I can’t thank them enough,” Ms Harrison said.
“It was not their fault. They are not babysitters…they probably feel as terrible as I do.”
Less than 48 hours after her family was torn apart by the “dreadful accident”, Ms Harrison is determined to use her tragedy to ensure other families don’t lose a child in similar circumstances.
“If I can save one other child by telling parents not to take your eyes off them for one second, and teach them to swim as soon as you can, when they are babies — if I can stop this from happening for anyone else, that’s one tiny thing I can take from this.”
She confirmed the news to her friends and family in an emotional Facebook post on Monday morning.
Mayor Reg Kidd said the council is encouraging anyone who may have witnessed the tragedy to contact police directly.
“Everyone who has swum at the Orange pool can imagine the sadness and grief the family and our staff are feeling today. Today is a time for offering that support,” he said in a statement.
“Staff are working with police as they prepare a report for the formal investigation. Staff too are being offered personal support, and so the pool will remain closed in the coming days.”