Sussex

Eastbourne pool boy drowned accidentally

A boy who died in an East Sussex swimming pool while on a foreign school trip accidentally drowned, a coroner has ruled.

Muhammed Talha Baber was discovered floating face down in the pool at Newlands School, Eastbourne, on 1 July.

The 12-year-old, known has Talha, was on a school trip from Pakistan organised by Ardmore Language School.

The inquest at Eastbourne Magistrates' Court heard that Talha's mother told organisers that he could not swim.

Ardmore Language School is contracted by the Beaconhouse School System of Pakistan (SSP), which has 195,000 students worldwide and owns three schools in the UK, including Newlands School.

The coroner, Alan Craze, heard that the swimming session had been unplanned and that Timothy Carter, the facilities manager at Newlands, had been asked if he would oversee the swimming session.

Mr Carter, a qualified lifeguard, said: "I was confident that my qualifications would stand me in good stead at the pool.

"I thought others would have made the checks of a register of the boys at the pool and their swimming abilities."

He said he was looking across to the other side of the pool when he noticed Talha half submerged in the water.

Mr Carter said for about four or five seconds he thought Talha was messing around and prodded him with a lifeguard rescue pole, but he failed to move.

Talha was taken to hospital where he died.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Mr Craze said: "This is a dreadful tragedy for all of the family of this little boy."

No-one was available for comment from Newlands School after the verdict.

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