The death of a young girl in Touliki on Friday has prompted questions about what international  safety measures are in place at public swimming pools.

The girl’s body was recovered from the ocean pool about 2pm. She was identified by relatives and friends on social media as 13-year-old ‘Elisapeta Heitonga of Tofoa.

Local reports said attempts to revive Heitonga at the scene failed.

It is understood the girl was with members of a sport team from Lavengamālie College.

In 2013 a 41 years-old man drowned at the pool, which was then closed  for two months.

In New Zealand public swimming pools generally have volunteer or paid lifeguards who keep an eye on swimmers.

Government regulations lay out strict rules on supervising pool users, particularly children. Responsibility stretches to a range of staff.

A minimum of one qualified lifeguard is required at all times, with more depending on the number of users.

At New Zealand beaches lifeguards maintain a watch on swimmers and mark out safe areas with flags.

In Australia there is a strong culture of lifeguards on public beaches and in public pools and in both countries lifeguards have to qualify for the position.

In California lifeguards have to undertake qualifications of up to two years and undertake life saving and CPR qualifications.

For more information

Aquatic Facility Guidelines


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