Headline — 17 March 2018 — by Micah Goodin
16-year-old student drowns in Pickwick pool

BELIZE CITY, Tues. Mar. 13, 2018– At around midday on Sunday, March 11, a birthday celebration at the Pickwick pool ended in tragedy for a third form Pallotti student, Oluwukemi Miracle Ojo. Ojo drowned in the pool, which plunges to a depth of 12 feet at the deep end.

Strangely, no one saw Ojo’s body inside the pool. When no one could find Ojo, her family filed a missing person’s report. The tragic discovery was made about four hours after she disappeared.

Femi Ojo, the father of the deceased, today told the press that this was the first time his daughter left her home independently to attend a private function.

“She is not the type that liked going out. This was her first time leaving the house for an outdoor programme. But on that fateful day, I realized that she was invited for her friend or her classmate’s birthday,” he said.

According to him, no one knew the whereabouts of his daughter.

“For almost four hours we were looking for Miracle. Where is Miracle? Everybody was giving us different stories,” he said.

He also commented on the absence of lifeguards at the pool.

“There were no guards if needed, no proper guards in case if anything happens, someone should be there to rescue, some professionals, but nothing was done… The unfortunate thing is that there is no effort being made at the establishment. They need to have professionals there to look into these things. It was a kid. And more so, the children are right in the water swimming for four hours and none of them was able to identify where Miracle was,” he lamented.

He accused the management of the Pickwick facility and the organizers of the event of being negligent.

“The children are swimming and so there should be proper checks, proper supervision and good swimmers on the ground. You have to look on everybody, not just one person. But to have been in the pool for four hours, it is alarming. Very, very alarming,” he said.

When asked if someone should be held responsible for the death of his daughter he told the press, “No, I can’t say; that is why I told you if you look at the camera. The camera will tell us how it goes. I am not pressing charges against anybody because the charge for vengeance is for God.”

Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Alejandro Cowo says he suspects that Ojo may not have been seen because the pool water was murky and she wore dark swim gear.

When asked about the presence of lifeguards in swimming areas, he explained that it is standard procedure to have them.

However, Pickwick’s personnel had indicated to the organizers of the party that the facility would not have been able to provide any lifeguards.

Today, Amandala spoke to Ojo’s science home room teacher, Cassandra Sabal, who recalled Miracle as a vibrant and jovial student.

“She is somebody with a big personality, and while she had a big personality, she was a humble soul; she was a spiritual soul,” said Sabal.

She added, “She told me once that her purpose on earth was to make everyone happy. While I told her that was a big task, she said that she was up to it.”

According to Sabal, her students are in the process of receiving grief counseling. A candlelight vigil was held to honor Ojo on Monday evening.

Her funeral is scheduled for Thursday morning.

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