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Fiji Time: 4:10 AM on Monday 22 September

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One more drowns

Avinesh Gopal
Sunday, February 03, 2013

THE country's drowning death toll has risen further.

It follows the death of a 12-year-old student in Tailevu on late Friday afternoon.

And the Fiji Police Force has warned that such deaths involving children will be thoroughly investigated.

Police investigations into the deaths of children by drowning would focus on the possibility of parental negligence.

The latest drowning incident happened between 5pm to 6pm on Friday when the Class Five student went to swim with friends about 50 metres away from where he drowned.

Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro said the boy's body was at the Korovou Hospital mortuary in Tailevu awaiting a post-mortem examination today.

Ms Naisoro said the drowning toll so far this year was seven which was the same for the same period last year.

She said police had reopened four files on the recent deaths of children by drowning for further investigations.

Two of the files reopened by police for further investigations are from the Western Division and two are from the Southern Division.

Ms Naisoro said police investigators would look into the issue of parental negligence resulting in the drownings.

"The Commissioner of Police has given a directive to police investigators to look into the issue of parental negligence when investigating the deaths of children by drowning," she said.

"We don't want to add more grief to the families but these are the actions that we have to take now. All such cases involving children will be investigated for possible parental negligence."

Ms Naisoro was not in a position yesterday to comment on the progress in investigations into the four drowning deaths files that had been reopened.

The police force said it was sad to note such incidents were continuing to happen despite the repeated advice and warnings given to parents and adults.

Last year, 75 people lost their lives through drowning, of which about one third were children below the age of 10.

With efforts being made now by the various authorities to reduce the drowning death toll this year, parents and adults have been urged by police to seriously take heed of advice.


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