A boy believed to be around 7 years old was playing on a waterslide at Center Parcs in Wiltshire, U.K., collapsed and died on Aug. 17.
The young boy had been playing with three other children before he was heard screaming in agony “I’m hurting, I’m hurting.” His mother tried to help him, screaming “wake up,” The Sun reported.
“He’d just climbed up the steps to the top of the slide at the pool and was about to slide down,” a witness said. “Then he just collapsed to the floor. He was completely unconscious.”
“Us and about 20 other people saw this happen on Saturday,” another witness told the Sun, “worst thing I’ve ever witnessed and have not been able to get the boy and his family out of my head, or his mums screaming for him to wake up. … Awful. Rest in peace little man I’m so sorry that happened to you.”
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) August 23, 2019
A father present at the incident tried hard to save the boy, performing CPR until the arrival of the paramedics, he told the Daily Mail, “The park staff were there within seconds and worked really hard to get the situation under control. It was the adult guests that were at fault. Their behavior was appalling,” he said.
He upset at a woman that wanted a refund because she couldn’t get into the pool. “While I was giving CPR a woman came up to me and asked if she could go into the pool. And then she started asking staff if she could get a refund on her holiday because she couldn’t use the slides,” he said.
He said he had worked as a prison officer for 28 years and that this was one of the most horrible things he has witnessed.
“I’ve been a prison officer for around 28 years now and it was one of the most horrific things I’ve seen, his family were all there with him,” he said. “Staff managed to bring a screen across and give the child some privacy within ten minutes. It was already being used to cover a lady who had fallen over.”
Another source told the Daily Mail “there had been some very intense resuscitation attempts by staff. … Everyone was very upset and anxious about the pool area.”
The tragedy at the holiday park became widely known six days after families that witnessed the incident started writing about it on social media.
“Center Parcs handled it terribly and there was children and adults coming up to use the slides and outdoor area while the boy was lying dead on the floor,” said one woman.
“‘There was no boards up anywhere to offer support to the people who witnessed it or anything, it all just carried on as normal they didn’t even shut the pool,” she said. “And a member of the public administered CPR because the lifeguards were taking too long to come.”
Center Parcs said in a statement, “We are deeply saddened by the tragic news that a young guest passed away after becoming unwell whilst at Longleat Forest.”
“Our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time. We are continuing to offer our support to the family and to our employees who provided immediate assistance.”