Malvrick Donkor, a 14 year old student from Manchester High School, drowned during a swimming class. The student slipped underwater and never resurfaced. In fact, he was drowned in the pool for seventeen minutes before anyone actually noticed. According to surveillance video, there was no struggling involved or any attempt to splash the water.

Malvrick was at the bottom of the deep end of the pool for a total of seventeen minutes before he was being noticed and pulled out of the water. It was only at the end of the class when a student realised that he was laying motionless at the bottom of the pool. Thayer Redman, the swimming instructor who was in charge of the class, immediately dove in and pulled him out. Several 911 calls were being made as Thayer tried to perform CPR to save Malvrick. After which, he was rushed to the hospital. Sadly, he was later pronounced dead.

Although it is unclear of the number of adult supervision present at the time of the incident, based on the calls made to 911, it shows that the students who were in the pool with Malvrick had no clue that he had slipped underwater. “We need help! I’m at Manchester High School. We’ve had a student that’s drowned in the Manchester pool,” said one student in the call. The caller also did mention that a teacher was doing CPR, but was aware of how long Malvrick had been in the pool.

So how did noone notice Malvrick drowned? According to Mario Vittone, an expert on boating and water safety, explained that “drowning doesn’t look like drowning. Drowning is not the violent, splashing, call for help that most people expect. Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing, and yelling that dramatic conditioning (television) prepares us to look for, is rarely seen in real life.”

“There’s no splashing, no flailing like you would typically think of. He just slipped under water. Other kids were swimming over the top of him, not knowing he was down below,” claimed an anonymous source, who watched the surveillance footage. Since the incident, the teacher involved has been suspended. At the same time, Malvrick’s family, who is from Ghana, has hired a lawyer to sue the school district. Drowning continues to be the number one cause of accidental death in children in the United States.

Such an incident should and could have been prevented if there were more vigilant lifeguards on duty. In Singapore, we provide certified lifeguards in all of our public swimming complexes. They play a big role in ensuring the safety and welfare of swimmers. If you are seeking Swimming Lessons by a certified instructor, check out Happy Fish Swim School. We have different lessons and programs available to cater to various needs.