Reported By: Syed Imtiaz Jaleel
June 5, 2012

Lonavala, India - A schoolgirl from Mumbai's suburb Thane drowned in a swimming pool after she was reportedly stuck in a suction drain. The incident occurred in the swimming pool of the prestigious Cathedral Vidya School, a residential institution at Shilatne, on the outskirts of Lonavala on Saturday evening.

16-year-old Shibani Subroto Sen had started swimming at the age of seven and was the school swimming champion. She was swimming in the school pool when the tragedy occurred around 6 pm. Her instructor thought Shibani was practicing swimmming under-water. But when she noticed  the girl struggling  to free her leg, she jumped in. Shibani had collapsed by the time she was brought out of the pool.

The Class X student was rushed to the Lonavala Civic Hospital in the school ambulance, where she was declared dead on arrival.
"The cover on the suction drain broke when she jumped on it and her leg got stuck. We have registered case of accidental death," Mohan Jadhav, Police Inspector, Lonavala.

Shibani's parents were informed and they rushed to the school,  a couple of hours drive from their home inThane. The body was handed over to them and the last rites were conducted in Thane on Monday afternoon.

Initial reports suggested there may have been lapses by the school as there was no instructor around when Shibani had asked for an additional 5 minutes to swim. But her father Subroto Sen, who visited the school on Tuesday to collect his daughter's belongings,  told NDTV that he was convinced it was an accident. "I met the school authorities...saw the pool and came to a conclusion that it was nothing more than an accident," he said.

"She had called me to a few days ago and said 'I am going to get an award in the school." a visibly emotional Mr Sen added.

Cathedral Vidya School Principal Meera Sain said the death of this young girl has left the staff and students shocked.

The Dragonfly Story

Excerpted from the eulogy at Abbey Taylor's Celebration of Life Service

Below the surface of a quiet pond lived a colony of water bugs. They were happy, living far from the sun. But they noticed that occasionally, a member of their colony would climb up a lily stalk and disappear from sight, never to return. Where do you suppose she went? wondered a water bug.

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Pool Safety Tips

  • Use the Water Watchdog System to make sure children are always closely supervised in the pool area.

  • Remind kids to stay away from pool and hot tub drains.

  • Never dive into water less than 9 feet deep.

  • Keep gates to the pool area latched.

More water safety tips