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Tourist minors, 6 and 8, drown at Rio On Pools

HeadlineTourist minors, 6 and 8, drown at Rio On Pools

The separate incidents occurred over the weekend and claimed the life of an 8-year-old girl, and one other unidentified person.

BELIZE CITY, Mon. June 13, 2022

Yesterday tragedy struck a family from Boise, Idaho that had been vacationing in Belize when their 8-year-old daughter drowned in the Rio On Pools located about 15 minutes off the highway in the Mountain Pine Ridge area. Eight-year-old Cerys MacTaggart was found trapped inside a hole in the middle and lower pool by a diver who joined a search party with the desperate family. Attempts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful, and she remained unresponsive, and was transported to the San Ignacio Community Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Police say a post-mortem exam on the child’s body is scheduled.

Reports are that the family, including their two boys and little girl, went to the pools on Sunday. Joshua MacTaggart told San Ignacio police that the boys asked to go swimming in a nearby pool, while little Cerys remained with them, but they soon noticed she was missing. They began a fruitless search before asking others at the pools to assist them. This was when divers found the child’s body inside the hole. 

“In every waterway in this country, I keep appealing to the general public and even our tourists, to supervise their children while swimming,” Police Communication Director, ASP Fitzroy Yearwood, stated during today’s police press briefing. 

Reports are that a second person drowned over the weekend in the Rio On Pools, but no detailed information has been released on that case by police as yet. 

“Over the weekend, the Forest Department was notified of two separate drowning incidents at the Rio On Pools in Mountain Pine Ridge,” a release issued today by the Forest Department stated. 

The statement notifies the public of an internal investigation that will take place in conjunction with the police’s ongoing investigation. 

“The department wishes to express heartfelt condolences to the families of the two children who died in these incidents, “the release states. 

It adds, “The department warns the public about the risks of swimming in the Mountain Pine Ridge recreational areas. Close adult supervision is strongly recommended, especially when children are using the natural pool formations, as lifeguards are not stationed at these locations. 

The department also discourages the consumption of alcohol while swimming.”

A revision of visitor safety protocols will be conducted within the coming weeks to address any potential gaps, and “a public awareness campaign will be initiated to remind visitors of the risks associated with recreation at the sites, as well as safety measures to ensure a safe visitor experience,” the release states.

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