A 6-year-old boy named Bukumi was the oldest of three children, living with their mother, 31-year-old Bukola Babayemi, and had only just arrived in Quebec, Canada, from Nigeria, via the United States, in April.
Witnesses told CTV Montreal that the swimming pool, located outside an apartment building in the city’s Saint-Leonard neighborhood, was crowded on Monday around 7 p.m. when the boy drowned. The child slipped under the water and was spotted unconscious at the bottom of the pool, witnesses said.
There was one lifeguard on duty, witnesses say, and she jumped into the pool and pulled the child to the deck. She immediately performed chest compression on the child but was unable to revive the boy.
Speaking with the Journal de Montreal, the boy’s mother, Bukola Babayemi, said they moved into their apartment two days before the tragedy. The grieving woman said the family of four decided to leave their empty apartment and go to the pool to try and beat the heat. Before entering the water she told her son to stay close, but for a quick moment lost sight of him while tending to her other children who are 3-years and 10-months old. It was after that handful of seconds that the boy was found under the water.
Raynald Hawkins of the Quebec Lifesaving Society told CTV Montreal, when children are involved that’s all it takes.
“A drowning situation for kids is only 15 to 20 seconds. It’s very silent,” he said.
Witness Diane Lambert said the child’s mother was in a state of nervous shock and was rushed to the hospital to be treated for shock.
“I just see the little boy there on the floor and he was trying to breathe and she was pumping the heart, and he never came back,” Lambert told CTV Montreal.