Chinese community supports grieving parents

The parents of a 17-year-old Chinese international student who died after being pulled from the Canada Games Aquatic Centre in Saint John arrived Thursday.

The parents of a Chinese international high school student who died after being pulled from the Canada Games Aquatic Centre in Saint John arrived Thursday.

The 17-year-old nearly drowned during a public swim last Sunday. Lifeguards spotted him at the bottom of the pool.

He was pulled from the pool, unresponsive, and taken to hospital. He had been in the Saint John Regional Hospital on a ventilator until his death Tuesday afternoon.

Jennifer Li, president of the Chinese Cultural Association of Saint John, said there was a large outpouring of support for the couple in the loss of their only child.

"I already got lots of calls from our Chinese members, they'd like to support this family, to help this family in different ways," she said.

"So I'm really glad for this part. And also, I really appreciate the local people, the Canadian people gave us lots of support and help."

Li said people have offered to cook meals for the teen's parents, provide translation and even medical services while they are in New Brunswick.

The Saint John Police continue to investigate the death and an autopsy will be performed.

Police said they don't suspect foul play and they hope to have more information by next week at the latest.

Leo Maloney, chair of the Canada Games Aquatic Centre Commission, said the public shouldn't be afraid for their safety at the aquatic centre.

"The pool has been operating for 26 years, and this is the first incident, regrettably it happened, and for all the experience we've had in the pool there's no reason for the public to be concerned."

Maloney said the proper number of lifeguards were on duty – in all six lifeguards and two supervisors - for the public swim. He estimated about 60 people were in the pool at the time.

"It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, so it wasn't nearly as crowded as it usually was, so as far as the numbers of lifeguards, we were certainly well within the ratio that was required," he said.

He added that all lifeguards are trained in accident prevention and emergency response.

Maloney said the provincial coroner should investigate the death.

"There should be an inquest. We know where we found him and we know what condition we found him. What we do not know is what happened before that, or why it happened," he said.

It could be months before a decision is made about whether to hold a coroner's inquest.

The coroner investigates all sudden and unexpected deaths in the province.