Boy, 13, dies from mishap in hot tub...

Toronto Daily Star, September 4, 2001
A 13-year-old boy who was suctioned to the bottom of a hot tub in a Scarborough condominium Friday has died.

Michael Botello was, with three friends in the small ground-floor swimming area of the building in the Sheppard Ave. E. and Kingston Rd. area, when he disappeared under the water around 4:30 p.m. He spent about eight minutes under water. Paramedics were called and tried to revive him before rushing the boy to the Hospital for Sick Children, where he was on life support until he died Sunday around 10:30 p.m., police said yesterday.

The coroner’s is investigating

Pool's safety probed after death of boy, 13

Tragedy in hot tub spurs investigation by coroner's office
Nicholas Keung
The coroner's office is probing the drowning death of a 13-year-old boy who was suctioned to the bottom of a hot tub in a Scarborough condominium Friday.

Ontario's deputy chief coroner Dr. Barry McLellan said investigators will look into the safety of the pool in question and the files of other related deaths in the past.

``Clearly the investigation will include testing of this particular hot tub where this young boy was found in,'' McLellan said in an interview yesterday.

``We will go through our files and carefully track the recommendations arising from the (previous) inquests. But this is still a very uncommon occurrence.''

Michael Botelho, a visitor in the building on Sheppard Ave. E. near Kingston Rd., was in the small indoor swimming area with three friends when he disappeared underwater around 4:30 p.m.

Police said suction from a grate at the bottom of the tub kept the victim stuck under the surface.

After as long as eight minutes underwater, Botelho was taken to the Hospital for Sick Children, where he died at 10:30 p.m. Sunday.

There have been at least two similar deaths in Greater Toronto in the past 15 years where young victims drowned after they were trapped in pool drains.

Gregory Racette, 11, died Aug. 14, 1986, after his legs were sucked into an uncovered whirlpool drain at a Mississauga racquet club.

Years later - on March 9, 1994 - Cristin Fitzpatrick, 10, of Scarborough drowned after a pool's filtration equipment sucked in her hair, trapping her underwater.

The coroner's office called an inquest into both deaths and the juries recommended sweeping changes to improve safe operation of hot tubs and swimming pools.

Among the recommendations were provincial regulations and inspection of commercial whirlpools, and a protocol that required lifeguards and caretakers to report unusual occurrences with pool equipment, including experiences of suction.

McLellan could not tell The Star yesterday how many of the recommendations from the inquest have been implemented.

Gregory's mother Tammy Racette, however, said she was upset that her son's death failed to prevent another tragedy.

``Gregory's inquest was a total waste of time because when you have an inquest, the recommendations are not binding and don't have to be enforced,'' she said.

``No one has to follow them if they don't want to.''

The pool, where Michael Botelho was entrapped, remained closed yesterday.

Judy Duffus, senior property manager with the condo building's Ajax-based management, Newton Trelawney, said there had been no reports of problems with the pool.

``We're deeply distressed about what happened and our thoughts go out to the family,'' Duffus said yesterday.

``The matter is going to be completely investigated by engineers and then whatever it takes will be done.''

McLellan said the coroner's investigation will take a few weeks and it's too early to decide if an inquest is warranted.








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