An Alberta judge says there should be independent safety audits twice a year at all pools and water parks in the province..
Provincial court Judge Gregory Maxwell makes the recommendation in the fatality report into the 2010 death of five-year-old Maddox James Yellow Wings at the Ramada Hotel Waterpark in Lethbridge.
The boy was at the water park with several family members who had been advised that children must be kept within arm’s length, the judge noted in his report.
As the group was preparing to leave some time later, Maddox’s parents became aware that they had lost track of the child, the inquiry heard.
He was found at the bottom of the wave pool, near the waterfall, directly below the lifeguard’s tower.
The boy died despite efforts by the lifeguards and EMS crews to revive him. At the time there was only one lifeguard on deck while two others on duty were performing other duties, the inquiry was told.
After the incident, the hotel brought in the Lifesaving Society — a national non-profit group — for a safety audit.
The consultants recommended that two lifeguards always be on deck supervising and the waterfall be removed because it obscured visibility immediately beneath it.
Both changes were implemented.
In his final report, Judge Maxwell’s only recommendation was to require bi-annual safety audits of pools and water parks.