Water park where girl drowned was already being investigated over safety fears

·3 min read
Liquid Leisure Windsor - UkNewsinPictures
Liquid Leisure Windsor - UkNewsinPictures

A water park where an 11-year-old girl drowned during a birthday party was under investigation over safety concerns, The Telegraph can reveal.

Liquid Leisure Windsor, near Datchet, Slough, was the scene of a tragedy on Saturday when the child drowned after going missing in an area of the beach cordoned off by inflatables.

Safety concerns had previously been raised about the park after a father broke his leg there in June.

The father wrote on Mumsnet that he visited on June 19 as a Father’s Day gift from his 12-year-old daughter, who accompanied him on the main water course with around 60 other people.

He added that he was “immediately concerned by the loose Velcro joins between the inflatable sections”, with the “gaps and loose fabric” posing “an obvious entrapment risk”.

He reported that after 15 minutes he slipped on a small slope, with his right leg going under the loose join and breaking in two places.

Liquid Leisure Windsor - Maureen McLean/Shutterstock
Liquid Leisure Windsor - Maureen McLean/Shutterstock

The man reported this to Environmental Health and the council, which was conducting a separate health and safety investigation into the incident.

James Bull, 25, of Guildford, said the situation on Saturday “was just disorganised, I feel like they weren't really prepared for a situation like that”.

He added that it took 10 to 15 minutes for the lifeguards to get into the water, and there were three to five of them and up to 15 members of the public in the water "including myself and my friend".

"They weren't even providing people with goggles. My mate went to the shop to get goggles and was told he still had to pay for them ... a guy ripped them off the shelf and gave them to him,” he added.

"I don't know what sort of training lifeguards get but I feel there should have been a hierarchy. They all had walkie-talkies, the moment she went under the water they should have cordoned the beach off and dealt with it."

Liquid Leisure Windsor - UkNewsinPictures
Liquid Leisure Windsor - UkNewsinPictures
Helicopter - Sky News
Helicopter - Sky News
Liquid Leisure Windsor - Andrew Matthews/PA
Liquid Leisure Windsor - Andrew Matthews/PA

One woman at the leisure park with her nephew said she had seen the girl, said to be named Kyra, with a birthday party of around eight people, including adults.

She said that while the girl was missing there were lifeguards still running other activities on either side of the cordoned-off area.

A public inquiry into how the park had breached planning permission was also set to go ahead in November.

The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead served an enforcement notice on the park because of its use as an aqua theme park, caravan and camping site instead of using the water only for water-skiing and windsurfing.

'Extensive unauthorised works'

The council said that the onus was “on sites and developers to follow planning controls and ensure they have the relevant consents or authorisation for planned works”.

It said the use of the site as a party venue and child’s play centre was “facilitated by extensive unauthorised works in the Green Belt, a Flood Zone and Local Wildlife Site”.

Liquid Leisure is appealing against the enforcement notice and a public inquiry by the Planning Inspectorate is due to start on Nov 8.

The Telegraph has approached Liquid Leisure for comment.