Teachers and pool staff in court over death of girl during swimming lesson

Two teachers and three pool staff have appeared in court after a nine-year-old Syrian girl drowned during a swimming lesson.

The girl, named Salam, was found dead in the deep end of the pool at the end of a lesson in Rhenen, in Utrecht province in September 2015. She had only been in the Netherlands a few months and communicated with gestures, the court in Utrecht was told.

Salam used flotation aids during the lesson, but a pool attendant told the court he had removed them for the ‘free swim’ session at the end so she could stand upright in the water. He said he had instructed her not to leave the shallow end of the pool.

Three children in the class, including Salam, had not passed their swimming certificates, but the pool attendants were not aware which ones they were. The court also heard that the swimming instructor did not warn his colleagues not to let the girl go into the deep water.

All five suspects in the case were asked why there was no extra supervision in place for Salam even though she could not swim or speak Dutch. The two teachers said they had supervised the class of around 30 as a group, but only noticed Salam was missing when they counted the children in the changing room afterwards.

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