Seven-year-old Portsmouth boy drowned in ‘dreadful accident’ in Lanzarote swimming pool

Apollo Badran

The death of a ‘popular’ seven-year-old boy found at the bottom of a swimming pool on the first day of his holiday has been ruled a ‘dreadful accident’.

An inquest into Portsmouth schoolboy Apollo Badran’s death heard no lifeguards were around at the pool at H10 Lanzarote Gardens in Lanzarote.

Portsmouth Coroner’s Court heard the Year 2 St Swithun’s Catholic Primary School pupil was getting ready to swim with his siblings, his paternal aunt and grandmother when he ‘simply disappeared’.

His aunt and grandmother searched for him around the children’s and adults’ pools at the hotel but could not see him.

Apollo’s mother Annelies Denecker, who was not on the trip, told the inquest a British police officer on holiday spotted him submerged after she went down a slide into the pool.

Ms Denecker, who was told what happened in a phone call from Apollo’s grandmother, said she was told Apollo ‘simply disappeared’ and the adults were about to go back into the hotel to find him.

‘Suddenly they heard shouting,’ she said.

Telling of the police officer who saw Apollo, she said: ‘She came down the slide, she went under and thought she saw something under the water.

‘She came up and said to her husband “I think there’s a little boy at the bottom of the pool”.

‘She was with her husband and he pulled him out.’

She added: ‘There happened to be a lot of English guests and nurses there and they started to perform CPR.

‘What we have found from all the information, there was no lifeguards to be seen that were supposed to be there and when they finally arrived 10 minutes later they didn’t know quite what to do.

‘We do not know if he slipped or went down the slide.’

Apollo, from Southsea, was first taken to a local hospital and then to Gran Canaria where he died four days later on May 30.

Returning a conclusion the death was an accident, coroner David Horsley told the boy’s parents: ‘The most feasible explanation seems to me that it’s some sort of dreadful accident that’s happened.

‘He’s gone into the water, suddenly he’s not been seen.

‘If as you suggest there are supposed to be lifeguards there who weren’t there - that’s a matter for the Spanish authorities rather than me to take criminal action if there is a criminal act in Spain.

‘If they were supposed to be there it’s tragic that they weren’t because it could have reversed the situation quite clearly.’

He added: ‘Despite the efforts made at the side of the pool and at the hospital they’ve been unable to save the poor little boy.’

The inquest heard it was not clear if Apollo had gone down the water slide into the pool, fallen in or suffered a medical condition that caused him to fall in.

Gus Badran, Apollo’s father who was not on the holiday, told the inquest: ‘Either he’s perhaps used the slide or stumbled and fallen.’

Dr Holden told the inquest the cause of death was acute global cerebral hypoxia ischemia following an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

Spanish authorities initially recorded the death as a ‘natural death’ but then started a ‘judicial death’ probe. The outcome has not been shared with the coroner.

Detective Inspector Roger Middle, who liaised with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, said he had seen no evidence of foul play.

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