Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 13 July 2014

'Nothing there' for pool death girl

Five-year-old Chloe Johnson died in a waterpark at the Coral Sea Waterworld Hotel in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt

The grief-stricken father of a five-year-old girl who drowned in a hotel pool in Egypt fought back tears as he spoke of how he was left to make the first attempts to resuscitate his daughter.

Sarah Thompson and Tony Johnson, parents of Chloe Johnson, said there were no lifeguards at the pool where their daughter drowned in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh and no help on hand to save her life.

The couple told ITV Daybreak of how they had walked around the pool looking for Chloe after returning from buying drinks and snacks. Mr Johnson said he had been the first to start resuscitation efforts after his daughter was discovered at the Coral Sea Waterworld Hotel.

"It was just me at the beginning. I had done it all and then other people said there was a nurse," he said. He added that they were left without a doctor for at least an hour and they had to wait for four hours before officials came to collect their daughter's body.

Ms Thompson said: "There was no CPR, there was no resuscitation for Chloe, we were just left to our own devices. There was no professional on hand. There was no doctor for at least an hour. There was nothing there for her."

She said the tragedy had happened after they had gone to buy some drinks and snacks. "We went to go and get Chloe and Sadie (her other daughter) some snacks and some drinks... she is 15 and she was there whilst we went off to get the drinks and some food - I came back with the drinks in my hand and walked around the pool twice and we couldn't find her."

She said her daughter, who underwent heart surgery aged four years old, was "very healthy and very happy".

The couple were speaking after the headteacher of Chloe's school paid tribute to the little girl, from Forest Hill, south east London, describing her as "artistic and creative, always trying her best".

Andy Mathieson, headteacher of Kelvin Grove Primary School in Sydenham, south east London, said: "The whole school community is deeply saddened by the tragic death of Chloe Johnson and our thoughts and prayers go to her family and friends at this difficult time. Chloe was a popular little girl with many friends. She was a real pleasure to teach - she worked hard and was artistic and creative, always trying her best. She was well-liked by all the other children and had made many friends at Kelvin Grove. She is a huge loss to our school."

A First Choice spokeswoman said: "The Egyptian authorities are leading a full and thorough investigation to understand how the incident occurred. As they are best placed to lead this, and have the appropriate powers to gather the necessary facts, both First Choice and the hotel operator are fully supporting and assisting their investigation. In view of this investigation, it would be entirely inappropriate for us to speculate or comment further. Our priority is to provide support to the family at this extremely difficult time."

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