Cops begin investigation into fatal accident at Pala Lagoon pool
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Detectives from the DPS Criminal Investigation Division (CID) are now investigating the incident that cost the life of an 8th grader from Pavaia’i Elementary School, who drowned — and later died — during a school outing Wednesday afternoon at the Pala Lagoon Swimming Center.
Samoa News visited the Swimming Center yesterday morning and noticed that the site was closed down by DPS. Cops from the CID were present when Samoa News arrived. When approached for a comment, a senior detective declined to delve into details about their investigation.
Samoa News understands the Swimming Center is now closed, until further notice.
As part of the investigation, CID detectives are looking for eyewitnesses who were present during the incident, including teachers and students from the school.
An unidentified individual who saw Samoa News taking photos wanted to share his take on the incident. He said he was a lifeguard for over 20 years at one of the biggest public swimming pools in California.
“This is unbelievable. I just can’t believe this happened to a dear young child. I was speechless when I read the news this morning about this incident,” said the individual while holding a newspaper in his right hand.
“The big question that comes to my mind when reading the news today is, where was the lifeguard when this poor kid was drowning? How many lifeguards were present when the children were having a good time at the pool? If there was more than one lifeguard on duty when the incident happened, were they able to conduct CPR on the victim? Are they certified to do lifeguard work?”
According to the individual, this is a small swimming pool, which makes it much easier for lifeguards to do their job.
“I can’t understand how a kid can drown in this small tiny pool. It’s come to my mind that there were no lifeguards and no teachers around the pool when the incident happened,” said the former lifeguard.
“This is a commercial operation and the reason why people are paying $5 every time they use the pool is to pay the lifeguards to do their job, and to make sure they are present whenever someone is swimming in the pool, not standing outside smoking,” he added.
Two mothers whose children attend Pavaia’i Elementary School shared their thoughts to Samoa News about this horrible incident.
One of them, who was at the school outing that day, told Samoa News that they put all of their trust in the teachers to look after their children — every second — while they are under their care.
“This is sad,” the mother paused for a moment. “I feel sorry for the parents of this young girl. This incident should not have happened; if only the teachers had paid more attention while the children were inside the pool.”