Parents of drowned boy said there were a lack of lifeguards


Parents of a seven-year-old boy who drowned on a trip to Egypt said there were a ‘lack of lifeguards’ at the hotel swimming pool.

Alfie Gray, from Hogarth Road, Tilgate, was on holiday at the Reef Oasis Beach Resort in Sharm El Sheikh, on July 7, where he was believed to have slipped, hit his face and drowned in the hotel swimming pool.

Alfie Gray at the Furngate Sixes in 2015

Alfie Gray at the Furngate Sixes in 2015

On Friday, March 3, an inquest heard that following the accident the life guard on duty was unable to see Alfie and if he was found sooner he probably would have survived.

Coroner Penelope Schofield said Alfie and his family were planning on having a ‘lovely holiday’ in Egypt with another family.

But on the second day of their trip Alfie went missing at the hotel.

She said: “On July 7 in the morning, Alfie was separated from the group and once this was noted the family alerted the authorities and staff at the complex.

“Their concerns for Alfie were not taken seriously and there was a lack of life guards at the pool.

“Other holidaymakers went to find Alfie and five minutes later he was found close to a waterfall that was part of the pool.”

The coroner said Alfie was believed to have hit his face and was ‘knocked unconscious’ or ‘ stunned’ and fell into the water, and as a result drowned.

The father, Aaron Gray, said Alfie had been swimming in a pool around 1.2 meters deep, so he was able to stand.

Mrs Schofield said: “This is a terrible case. As a mother myself I cannot begin to understand what it is like to go through.

“Sadly to say, had Alfred been found earlier he would have survived and if the life guard had full eyesight it would not have happened.”

The parents also raised issue to the coroner that there was a delay in hotel staff calling the emergency services and a language barrier.

Following a post mortem, Alfie was found to have a broken front tooth, which is believed to have been attributed to the fall, but it is not certain what caused him to slip.

To try and prevent drowning in hotel swimming pool’s abroad, Mrs Schofield said she will write to the association that deals with travel agencies that send tourists to Egypt and ask that life guard provisions at hotels be reviewed.

Alfie was described as a good swimmer and avid Arsenal fan by his parents, Mr Gray and Chantelle Parker.

Mr Gray said: “He was fun loving and caring.”

Alfie’s auntie said: “We love him so much and miss him every single day.”

Mrs Schofield said: “It could have just as easily been any of our children.

“I hope there will be some element of closure but I’m sure it will never go away.”

Alfie played for Crawley Town Boys football club’s under-7s.

Alfie’s teammates held a one minute silence before taking part in a football tournament in Maidenbower on July 11.

The coroner recorded a conclusion of accidental death caused by drowning.

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