Rocco Wright, three, drowned after he was reportedly found face down at the bottom of a David Lloyd club’s pool on Saturday in Leeds
Parents of a little boy who drowned in a David Lloyd gym’s pool have paid tribute to their ‘happy, joyful’ son – as they insist his father rescued him from the water and not a lifeguard.
Rocco Wright, three, died after he was found face down at the bottom of a David Lloyd club’s pool in Leeds on Saturday.
His parents Steven and Catharine have hit back at the Moortown centre, who claimed a staff member had scooped the child from the water.
Steven said he rescued his son and the centre’s account was false and ‘has caused further grief and upset’.
In a statement, the family said they are ‘devastated’ by the death of their ‘happy, joyful boy’.
Rocco had been taken swimming by his father Steven with his four-year-old sister.
But tragedy struck when Steven said he suddenly couldn’t see Rocco before finding him face down in the indoor pool.
Paying tribute to their son, Steven and Catharine said in a statement: ‘Rocco truly loved life and we will be left with a void forever that can never be filled.’
The statement added: ‘We are all totally devastated by the loss of the most amazing happy, joyful boy you could ever wish to meet.
‘RIP buddy, we’ll love you forever.’
Paying tribute to their son, Steven and his wife Catharine said in a statement: ‘Rocco truly loved life and we will be left with a void forever that can never be filled.’ Pictured: The club
Explaining what happened on the tragic day, Steven said he had brought his children to the pool for swimming lessons, but the instructor wasn’t there when the family arrived.
Upon learning that a swimming instructor would not be available for lessons, Steven said he decided to take the young children swimming himself.
He said, according to the Mirror: ‘It was at this point I decided I would forget the lesson and just swim with both my children only to realise I couldn’t see Rocco.
‘I checked round the poolside thinking he would be hiding but devastatingly he wasn’t.
‘I found him at the far end of pool face down at the bottom.
‘I dived in and got him out onto the poolside and screamed for help.
‘It was only at this point the lifeguard came over and tried to help.’
The youngster, accompanied by his mother, was rushed by ambulance to the city’s General Infirmary, where he died
Young swimmers, some of whom were having lessons, watched in horror as a lifeguard attempted mouth-to-mouth resuscitation after the boy was plucked unconscious from the water.
Distressed customers were later seen rushing from the centre, where a family membership costs around £180 a month. One woman aged in her 40s sobbed: ‘I am never swimming in that pool again.’
Club member Ash Moyassari, 12, said he saw people ‘rushing out and crying’ as he entered to use the club’s outdoor pool.
‘I was told by someone who works there that a little child had died,’ he added. ‘There were a lot of people leaving – some of them were running out and crying.
‘It’s really tragic. I feel bad for the boy’s parents.’
The little boy had been taken swimming with his four-year-old sister by his father Steven Wright
A spokesman for David Lloyd leisure centres said on Saturday: ‘We are deeply saddened by today’s incident at our Leeds club.
‘The child was swimming with his family in our indoor pool at the time of the incident.
‘He was found unconscious just after 9.30am this morning, and was rescued from the water by one of our team.
‘Our club teams are fully trained to deal with incidents of this nature, and they immediately administered CPR and the emergency services were called.
‘All of our team at the club are deeply shocked and saddened. Our thoughts are very much with the boy’s family at this very sad time.’