July 18, 2019

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Father dies, sons fighting for life after weekend pool tragedy

One of the three people involved in a drowning accident Sunday in an indoor swimming pool at a Winnipeg apartment complex has died.

Ram Nivash Misra, 38, died Monday night.

He and his sons, Shreyaan, 10, and Aaram, 9, were taken to hospital late Sunday afternoon, after they were pulled from the pool at the Courts of St. James, three high-rise apartment towers at 200 Ronald St.

All three were treated by Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service crews and rushed to hospital. The boys, at last report, remained in critical condition.

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One of the three people involved in a drowning accident Sunday in an indoor swimming pool at a Winnipeg apartment complex has died.

Ram Nivash Misra, 38, died Monday night.

He and his sons, Shreyaan, 10, and Aaram, 9, were taken to hospital late Sunday afternoon, after they were pulled from the pool at the Courts of St. James, three high-rise apartment towers at 200 Ronald St.

All three were treated by Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service crews and rushed to hospital. The boys, at last report, remained in critical condition.

"Mr. Misra could not recover and the children are in very, very critical condition. The doctor is not giving a good promise that they will ever recover," Ajay Pandey, president of the Hindu Society of Manitoba, said Tuesday.

Pandey said the Hindu society has started an online fundraising campaign, with the money collected on the site or in an account at RBC.

"The GoFundMe campaign is registered by Srikanth Tiruvayur, a co-worker of Mr. Misra, to financially support the family in this distressful situation. This campaign has support of large number of community members. This campaign also has full support of Hindu Society of Manitoba," Pandey said.

Pandey said Misra was working at Canada Life and had been living in Winnipeg the past seven months. He was originally from India, and his wife, Anupam Tripathi, and sons had moved from India just over a month ago.

"Ram is the sole income earner for his family... His wife is trying to cope up from the shocking incident that occurred to her family," Srikanth Tiruvayur stated on the fundraising webpage. "We are trying to raise money for the bills and any other urgent needs for the family."

The swimming pool is located inside a shared space between the three buildings of the Courts of St. James. (Sasha Sefter / Winnipeg Free Press)</p>

The swimming pool is located inside a shared space between the three buildings of the Courts of St. James. (Sasha Sefter / Winnipeg Free Press)

Joanna Schaaf, a nursing assistant who has lived in one of the Courts buildings for five years, said she was on her 16th-floor balcony Sunday when she heard a woman — later revealed to be the boys' mother — screaming for help from the ground level, near the pool's emergency exit.

Schaaf hurried down and went with the woman to the pool's locked outside door, where she could see the boys and their father in the water, all face down.

"I could see they were probably drowning, but we couldn't get in that door," she said Tuesday.

"I could see they were probably drowning, but we couldn't get in that door." -Joanna Schaaf, resident

Schaaf said she shouted to a security guard to call 911 as she and the boys' mother headed to the pool through one of the underground tunnels connecting it to the three buildings.

"When we got back (to the pool), other people had pulled them out on to the deck," she said, adding the father was "unresponsive" so she started doing chest compressions while others tended to the boys until paramedics arrived.

Schaaf said she sat with the woman while emergency crews worked on her family.

"I just told her that they're professionals and they're going to do everything they can. It was just awful. I started crying with her," said Schaaf, who has a young son.

"I just hope that what everyone did was able to help them. It was just people helping people. I hope they're going to be OK.

"It could happen to anyone, in an instant."

The Courts of St. James pool has depth markers indicating a one-metre shallow end, a 1.4-metre depth along a slope from the shallow to the deep end and a 2.4-metre depth in the deep end. There were lifesaving devices visible around the pool. (Sasha Sefter / Winnipeg Free Press)</p>

The Courts of St. James pool has depth markers indicating a one-metre shallow end, a 1.4-metre depth along a slope from the shallow to the deep end and a 2.4-metre depth in the deep end. There were lifesaving devices visible around the pool. (Sasha Sefter / Winnipeg Free Press)

Christopher Love, water smart co-ordinator with Lifesaving Society Manitoba, said lifeguards are recommended but not required at pools in the province that are deemed semi-public, such those in apartments or hotels.

(SASHA SEFTER / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

(SASHA SEFTER / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

The Courts of St. James pool has depth markers indicating a one-metre shallow end, a 1.4-metre depth along a slope from the shallow to the deep end, and a 2.4-metre depth in the deep end.

There were lifesaving devices visible around the pool. A rope divider did not appear to be in use to designate where the shallow water ended and began to slope toward the deep end.

"Public pools in the province are required to have markings for their dropoff or the slope, and we believe the same thing should happen for any facility that is open to the more general populace, such as hotel pools, apartment pools that are semi-public pools," Love said.

He said there are "fewer layers of protection" for people swimming in locations where there aren't lifeguards.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

Ashley Prest

Ashley Prest
Reporter

Ashley works the general assignment beat.

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History

Updated on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 at 12:23 PM CDT: Updates headline

12:33 PM: Adds link to fundraising website.

2:06 PM: Updates with death of father.

April 24, 2019 at 12:25 PM: Winnipeg Police have advised that the boys involved in the incident are 9 and 10 years old, not 10 and 11 as previously reported.

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