Five-year-old boy sucked into hot tub’s drain and almost drowned
“I thought I was imagining it but quickly realised this was a really, really bad situation and I screamed for help," the mother recalled
Although hot tubs can offer a great deal of fun and relaxation, they can also be dangerous—especially to children. The case of five-year-old Sam Leathes is a testament to that.
According to a Standard report, he and his family was staying on a villa in South Africa when the freak accident happened. In fact, his mother Lucinda and his seven-year-old brother Alfie were in the tub with him.
They weren’t doing anything crazy, just simply enjoying the tub, when Sam was caught by the drain.
When her son didn’t surface after a few seconds, Lucida realised something was wrong; she reached down the water and found her son had been trapped.
“I could see his blue and white shorts under the bubbles and put my arm down to help him up. It was like pulling on a lump of concrete,” she said. “I thought I was imagining it but quickly realised this was a really, really bad situation and I screamed for help.”
It is believed that Sam passed over the drain as he went under the water, and his stomach had covered the grill. The suction and pressure of the water caused his flesh to cover and seal the drain, creating a vacuum.
Lucinda’s husband and uncle who had been upstairs rushed down to help Sam, but the three of them were unsuccessful in freeing him.
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“At first I thought his foot was stuck and we couldn’t see clearly through the bubbles but when two grown men were pulling on him and he wouldn’t come up I realised it was the drain and they were pulling against all that pressure and all that water. I thought that was it—he would be dead.”
She then tried searching for the tub’s controls, and thankfully managed to turn it off. When the men pulled Sam from the water, he was floppy and blue.
Lucinda’s uncle, who happened to be a doctor, attended to Sam, who thankfully regained consciousness. Sam sustained scarring and bruising on his stomach, but walked away from the ordeal relatively fine.
Now Lucille works with the Royal Life Saving Society UK to raise awareness of the risks of allowing children to use hot tubs.
“I would urge people to be aware of the risks of hot tubs, and indeed any water, especially while on holiday with unfamiliar pools and hot tubs and varying safety laws,” she said.
“I am so, so grateful that Sam is okay, he has scars on his tummy, but thankfully didn’t realise the gravity of what had happened,” she added. “We were lucky but I do not want anything like this happening to anyone else.”
Meanwhile, RLSS UK’s CEO, Di Steer, said that they work with many people who have lost loved ones in drowning incidents.
He said: “We urge people to please always take time to look for and identify any potential water dangers when at home or, particularly on holiday when people’s guards are down and they are relaxing and less familiar with their surroundings.”
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