Broken drain cover led to ace swimmer's death

Sixteen-year-old Shibani Sen, a student from Cathedral Vidya School, Lonavla, was the school swimming champion and had gone swimming with 15 other students on Sunday. She had asked the instructor permission to swim for some more time after others had left the pool.

Tragic: Shibani Sen’s leg got stuck in a broken drain in the swimming pool of her school, causing her to drown. Her father Subrato (centre) visited the pool yesterday

After Shibani jumped into the pool, the instructor noticed that she hadn’t resurfaced and jumped in to check on her. When she reached Shibani she tried to pull her out, unaware that Shibani’s leg was stuck in the suction drain. She then called another male instructor who went underwater and noticed that her leg was stuck in the suction drain. They then pulled her out and tried to resuscitate her. Shibani was then rushed to Kamath Hospital, Lonavla, where she was pronounced dead.

Inspector Mohan Jadhav of the Lonavla rural police told MiD DAY that preliminary inquiries had led them to believe that when Shibani jumped into the pool, she landed on the plastic cover, which broke on impact, trapping her leg in the suction drain. Yesterday her father, Thane resident Subrato Sen, spoke about the tragedy, “After speaking to the police we found out that the plastic screen covering the suction drain broke, so it was an accidental death and not because of the school’s negligence. The school actually went out of their way to help me and my family, and I do not blame them for my daughter’s death,” said Subrato.

The girl’s parents were informed about the incident by the school principal Meera Sain after which they immediately rushed to Lonavla. “We reached Lonavala around 10:30 pm and as soon as we got there the principal and other staff members narrated the entire incident to us. I have heard many different versions of what happened in the pool. I now want to get all the details in place, as I have not been to the site yet,” said Subrato, an engineer with a private company. “We brought our daughter’s body back after the post mortem and conducted her last rites. I will go collect all my daughter’s belongings from the school today.” 

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