Water park is fined £80K after girl, 11, drowned at a birthday party (2024)

A water sports park has been fined £80,000 for health and safety failures after an 11-year-old girl drowned while swimming at a birthday party.

Kyra Hill was with her mother at Liquid Leisure Windsor celebrating a child's birthday when the accident happened on August 6 2022, the court heard.

After playing on a floating obstacle course, the children spent the afternoon at the 'family friendly' artificial beach and swimming area on the site in Datchet, Berkshire.

Kyra - who could not swim well or at all - entered the water at around 3.15pm before getting into trouble and becoming submerged in the water.

A 17-year-old lifeguard spotted the youngster in trouble and attempted to help her but was unable to find Kyra because visibility in the water was poor.

Prosecuting, Laura Phillips, said the RSSL qualified lifeguard had 'received no specific training or instructions' from the company operating the park.

Liquid Leisure Windsor water sports park has been fined £80,000 for health and safety failures after 11-year-old girl Kyra Hill drowned while swimming at a birthday party

'Nobody places any blame at all on the lifeguard', Ms Phillips said. 'The lifeguard saw her and tried to assist her, but could not find her.'

The court heard it was difficult to locate someone who became submerged in the pool because of the water visibility, which created an 'entirely foreseeable risk'.

Ms Phillips said Liquid Leisure had no emergency plan in place and so its response to the incident was 'confused, hampered and wholly ineffective'.

Read More Schoolgirl, 11, who drowned during waterpark birthday party wasn't found by emergency services for more than an hour, inquest hears

'The lifeguard had to ask visitors for goggles to help her look', Ms Phillips said. Some members of the public also suggested Kyra might have left the water.

Activity carried on as normal in the water for almost 15 further minutes until 3.33pm when users were asked to leave the swim area.

Staff and visitors carried out a search on land and in the water for Kyra and the emergency services were not called for 30 minutes.

When firefighters arrived at 4.12pm they saw staff and members of the public searching 'in a chaotic fashion', the court heard.

Kyra was finally discovered at 5.10pm and declared dead later at Wexham Park Hospital, the prosecutor said.

Stuart Marston, a director of the company, was in court.

Angus Withington, defending, said the company had expressed 'the very sincerest regret and sadness as to the nature of this accident and the very profound and immeasurable loss that has been suffered by Kyra's family and friends.'

The company had admitted failing to discharge its health and safety obligations and appeared at Reading Crown Court for sentence.

Mr Withington said: 'They did endeavour to address the risk and did so successfully in relation to competent swimmers.

'The difficulty which has properly been highlighted is that in circ*mstances in which such a person would become fully submerged, the prospect of a rescue would be extremely difficult.'

Liquid Leisure Windsor has been fined £80,000 for health and safety failures and was ordered to pay £30,000 in costs

Liquid Leisure Windsor now only hosts activities involving boats, cable water boarding and swimming for over 16-year-olds. Pictured: Floral tributes left for Kyra following the tragedy

Mr Withington accepted the company should have required all participants to wear floatation devices in the water, but said that at the time that was not a typical approach being taken by other operators in the industry.

'The company did not fall far short of the appropriate standards', Mr Withington added.

Liquid Leisure suffered a 'significant financial impact' after it was hit with a 16-month prohibition notice following the incident.

The company now only hosts activities involving boats, cable water boarding and swimming for over 16-year-olds.

It has been scaled down from 56 permanent employees to just eight, the court heard.

Judge Heather Norton, sentencing, said the only sign at the beach resort warned of 'shallow water', but that the demarcated swimming area actually reached depths of four-and-a-half metres.

'It was entirely foreseeable a child or even an adult might have been lulled into a false sense of security and made assumptions about the depth of the water until they were out of their depth', the judge said.

Judge Norton fined the company £80,000 and ordered it to pay £30,000 in costs.

Water park is fined £80K after girl, 11, drowned at a birthday party (2024)
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