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Mar 13, 2018

Teenager’s Sudden Drowning at Pickwick Leaves Lots of Questions

Oluwukemi Miracle Ojo

A high school student is dead following a pool party at the Pickwick Club. Oluwukemi Miracle Ojo, better known as Miracle, started her Saturday at a classmate’s birthday party at the Pickwick Club Swimming Pool. The party reportedly started around eleven that morning and Miracle was last seen alive around twelve-thirty or so. But it wasn’t until around four-twenty that she was discovered motionless at the bottom of the pool. When Miracle was first reported missing, her parents called the police to say that they were told that the teenager had left the party with an unknown person. But that report was far from true – she was at the bottom of the pool and died at the hospital later that evening. Today there are still a lot of questions. Police say that at the time of the apparent drowning, there was no lifeguard at the pool and that the party’s organizers were notified that there wouldn’t be lifeguards available for the party. News Five’s Andrea Polanco reports.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Three days after her birthday, sixteen-year-old Oluwukemi Miracle Ojo was retrieved in an unconscious state from the bottom of the swimming pool at the Pickwick Club in Belize City. Miracle was celebrating a friend’s birthday party on Saturday. But shortly after the party started, the teenager was reported missing. And the party allegedly continued even though the invited guest couldn’t be found. The Ojos were called out to Pickwick and there they received mixed reports about the teen’s whereabouts.

 

Femi Ojo

Femi Ojo, Father of Deceased

“She is not the type that liked going out. That would her first time leaving the house for an outdoor programme. But on that fateful day, I realized that she was invited for her friend or her classmate’s birthday.   Unfortunately, when we got there we were able to see her tennis, long pants, and shirt. But amazingly none of them could tell us the whereabouts of Miracle. And for almost four hours we were looking for Miracle – where is Miracle? Everybody was giving us different story – so I hear and so I hear.”

 

Miracle was missing for some four hours or so before she was found at the bottom of the pool. A pool in which her friends were still swimming. Everyone allegedly claimed they didn’t know that she was at the bottom of the swimming pool. And now there are more questions than answers. How does a teenager go missing and drowns at a pool party and the pool is the last spot to be searched? Didn’t the hosts or her friends see her go underwater? Was there a lifeguard on duty? Femi Ojo says he doesn’t have the answers but what he knows is that there was gross negligence that day.

 

Femi Ojo

“My wife said let’s check the pool. And it was amazing that nothing was done by the organizers nor the establishment. And there were no guards if needed, no proper guards in case if anything happens, some should be there to rescue – some professionals but nothing was done. But the unfortunate thing is that there is no effort being made as the establishment they need to have professionals there to look into these things. It was a kid. And more so, the children are right in the water swimming for four hours and none of them was able to identify where Miracle was.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Considering that she was underwater in the pool for so long and no one noticed, what does this say to you?”

 

Femi Ojo

“Well, that should show the negligence on the part of the establishment, the part of the students, the part of the organizers. That shows an uncaring attitude to humanity. The organizer should have looked into that. The children are swimming and so there should be proper checks, proper supervision and good swimmers on the ground. You have to look on everybody not just one person. But to have been in the pool for four hours, it is alarming. Very, very alarming.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Do you think someone should be held responsible for your daughter’s death?”

 

Femi Ojo

“No, I can’t say that is why I told you if you look at the camera. The camera will tell us how it goes. I am not pressing charges against anybody because the charge is vengeance is for God.”

 

Did Miracle quietly drown or did something more sinister happened in the pool that day? Femi Ojo says that only the surveillance footage can shed light on the last moments his daughter was alive and how she ended up in the deep end of the pool.

 

Femi Ojo

“We were not on the scene but the camera should be able to tell us in depth. That is the importance of the camera. The camera should be looked into because I was not there.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Now, from what we heard, there are reports circulating that she was screaming and no one tried to help her?”

 

Femi Ojo

“That is possible. That is why I said, the camera is there and so to get more information let the establishment show you the camera.”

 

The allegations are that no one wanted to go into the deep to look for Miracle because there were no swimmers at the party. When we checked with Pickwick Club we were told that while there are no persons called “lifeguards,” members of staff are trained to rescue people who get into difficulty in the pool – so where were they? Well, the establishment is not answering those questions because they are consulting with their attorney. After Miracle was found at the bottom of the pool, BERT personnel attempted to take her out. Justin Usher – a stranger to the Ojos – was out socializing when he heard what happened. He quickly offered to help when no one else responded. Miracle died at the hospital.

 

Justin Usher

Justin Usher, Responder

“I immediately take off my tennis shoe and they pointed me to the location where the girl supposed to be at the bottom of the water. So, when I jumped in, I dived down and then saw the motionless body of the girl Miracle. I grabbed her with my arms and I brought her to the surface of the water where I was helped by Darwin and other people surrounding the pool to take her out of the pool. After that, that was when Darwin started to do CPR on the girl to try and bring her back but at that time we didn’t know she was down there for such a long time.”

 

Miracle was a third form student at the Pallotti School. She is described as a god-fearing young lady – with a kind spirit and a big smile. Today some of her classmates hung a black bow outside the gates of the school campus – signaling that they had lost a cherished member. In the Three Science class, the students set up a memorial with burning candles to remember the young life lost.

 

Cassandra Sabal

Cassandra Sabal, Homeroom Teacher

“We have counselors from different institutions here to cope with the loss because they were really close to Miracle and I am sure that after today it will be a gradual step as we, a Pallotine community, try to make it pass this tragedy.”

 

Rushawn Reynolds

Rushawn Reynolds, Former Homeroom Teacher

“I believe I still in shock about the news. It is very hard to cope because Miracle was one of my homeroom students in first form. She would stay back every day with me just to talk and she was very helpful. She would say, Miss do you have anything for me to do? And she would never expect anything in return.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“How are you going to remember Miracle?”

 

Rushawn Reynolds

“Definitely her smile. That is the first thing you will remember about her. She doesn’t like when anyone else is sad and she will do anything that she could to uplift that person’s spirit. That is how we will remember her here at Pallotti.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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