'Two lifeguards arrested' over Sharm-el-Sheikh holiday drowning of British five-year-old Chloe Johnson
Father says he had to wait four hours for emergency services to arrive to 'simply confirm that she was dead'
Heather Saul is a digital reporter for The Independent, currently working on the People desk. She has written news and features across a number of topics, paying particular attention to the activities of Isis and events in Iraq, Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Monday 20 May 2013
Two lifeguards have been arrested over the death of five-year-old girl who drowned on holiday in the Egyptian resort of Sharm-el-Sheikh, her parents said today.
Chloe Johnson, from Forest Hill, south London, was pronounced dead at the scene at the Coral Sea Waterworld Hotel. Father Tony Johnson had left the pool to buy drinks and ice cream, only to return to find a stranger holding the lifeless body of his daughter after pulling her in from the water.
Mr Johnson, 43, said he then had to wait four hours for emergency services to arrive to "simply confirm that she was dead."
He said: "There were no emergency services. I took her off the man who was coming out of the swimming pool - there were no staff around.
There was a woman on holiday who said she was a nurse and a man who said he was a doctor.
"I have done mouth to mouth before so I just tried to revive her. I tried, but there was a lot of water coming up, and I knew very quickly that she had already lost her life."
The two on duty life guards had been seen around the pool, Mr Johnson said, but were absent when Chloe drowned. Local police are now investigating her death. The arrests are being made in connection with the lifeguards not being present at their posts.
Mr Johnson said that only five to seven minutes had passed between him leaving to buy refreshments and returning to discover that his daughter had tragically died on the first morning of their family holiday.
"We are heartbroken, she was such a beautiful girl. She had been looking forward to the holiday for months. We just cannot believe she has gone."
Chloe was a pupil in the reception class at Kelvin Grove Primary School in Sydenham.
A spokesman for tour operator First Choice said that the incident was being investigated. "The incident occurred in a pool in the hotel's waterpark. Our thoughts and condolences are with the family at this extremely difficult time.
"The British Consulate were immediately informed and they are now working with our dedicated resort team in Egypt, to offer every assistance possible to the family in resort.
"In partnership with the hotelier, our resort team are working to understand how the incident occurred, and we will be carrying out a full and thorough investigation. At this time our priority is to provide support to the family."
Additional reporting by PA
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