Schoolgirl drowns after being sucked into swimming pool filter drain on holiday in Tunisia

By Peter Allen Last updated at 7:22 PM on 27th August 2008

A schoolgirl has died after being sucked into the filter drain at the bottom of a hotel swimming pool.

The 14-year-old, who has not yet been identified, was trapped underwater for a number of minutes before losing consciousness.

She died a few hours later after lifeguards at the Hotel Melia Palm Azur, in Tunisia, failed to revive her.

The distinctive pool at the Hotel Melia Palm Azur, on the Tunisian island of Djerba

Other guests at the four star hotel, which is hugely popular with British holiday makers, said the filter did not have a grill on, meaning all young swimmers were liable to be sucked under. An investigation is still under way, with the pool in Djerba, some 300 miles from Tunis, closed. The girl was French and on summer holiday with her parents and brother.

Witnesses saw her jump into the pool with her brother on Saturday afternoon. She landed on the open drain of the pool's filter pump system, with the safety grill apparently broken off.

One witness said the girl appeared to have been 'sucked into the filter drain, which did not have a

grill over it'. The girl was unable to swim upwards towards safety from around six feet under, and lifeguards did not get to her in time to prevent her losing consciousness.

She was rushed to a hospital clinic where doctors tried to revive her, but she died on Sunday.

The Hotel Melia Palm Azur, which has 326 rooms, is part of the Spanish Sol Melia chain. It regularly welcomes British tourists, advertising on a range of UK travel websites.

Djerba is the largest island off the coast of North Africa. The beachside hotel Melia Palm Azur is four miles from the island city of Midoun. Its vast fan-shaped outdoor pool overlooks the sea and is surrounded by shaded sun lounges. A Tunisian government source confirmed the girl's death 'following an accident in the swimming pool at Hotel Melia Palm Azur' and said an investigation was underway. He said the girl’s body was transported back to France on Tuesday.




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