Suwan, 13, died in the Corporation-run swimming pool

A sense of disbelief and shock permeate the house of Suwan, the 13-year-old boy, who drowned in the Mangalore City Corporation Swimming pool on Friday evening. What perplexes everyone is that Suwan, who learnt swimming a couple of years ago, met a tragic death while pursuing his new-found hobby.

Suwan, a class 8 student of Amrita Vidyalaya in Boloor, had gone to swim along with his four friends around 6 p.m. on Friday. He was found drowning in the pool at the point where the water is around 10 ft. Lifeguards fished out Suwan, but he died on his way to a hospital in Kuntikana.

The school remained closed on Saturday. “There were no classes today. Parents had been called for a meeting, which did not happen because of Suwan’s death,” a classmate of Suwan said. “It’s really baffling how such an incident happened,” said a relative of Suwan, who did not wish to be named. He said Suwan could swim even in deep waters. “There are many theories doing the rounds. One says he choked as he had a heavy meal. The other theory is that he got injured after he had jumped from the driving board,” the relative said.

Suwan is the youngest of the four children of H.D. Somashekar, who is a borewell contractor. The family resides opposite to the school.

The incident has also sparked concerns among parents who send their children to the pool on a daily basis. They are worried about the overcrowding during the two batches meant for general (6 p.m. and 7 p.m.). “On occasions there will be hardly any space to swim,” said Suwan’s neighbour.

Another parent pointed to lack of emergency medical facilities at the swimming pool. “The pool did not have oxygen cylinder. Lifeguards lack training to tackle such emergencies,” he said. Manohar Anchan, whose children also swim at the pool, said lighting at the pool was not good enough to see the bed of the pool.

It was business as usual on Saturday at the pool, where a district-level swimming competition begins on Sunday.

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