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Jan 3, 2003

Burrell Boom mother: My baby drowned in well

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For the past two months, it has been our sad duty to report a long list of tragic deaths of Belizean children…the victims of various accidents. This morning, News 5′s Jacqueline Woods travelled to the village of Burrell Boom in the Belize District, the scene of the latest misfortune.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

Just after 1:00 on Thursday afternoon, sixteen month old Myrna Burgos was at home with both her parents and her seven brothers and sisters when she wandered into her backyard and accidentally fell into a well and drowned. According to the child’s mother, thirty-six year old Margarita Torres, baby Burgos had gone outside with her siblings while an older sister hung out clothes.

As baby Myrna Burgos’ fourteen year old sister did the laundry, the child played with her brothers in the yard. Sometime after, she left the area and walked towards this well situated to the back of the property. It is not clear how the child fell into the well, but her body was later found floating faced up in the water.

The fourteen-year-old girl, who discovered her sister’s body, quickly retrieved the baby from the well and ran with the child in her arms towards her mother. Torres says she did everything she possibly could to save her baby, but it was just too late.

Margarita Torres, Mother

“I run from my house and I find my baby dead. (Crying) I said no, me run and I see a next man and I say, somebody help me, help me. And the man tek the car and a gone dah the hospital. Me do everything I can to bring she back, but I can’t.”

Baby Myrna Burgos was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival.

Judith Alpuche, Executive Director, N.C.F.C.

“We cannot be too vigilant because all it takes is a split second. And it’s not that we want to invoke paranoia, but to realise that that’s all it takes, especially with the little ones.”

Burgos is the ninth child to have died since mid-November in separate incidents that probably could have been avoided. The cases have concerned local authorities, especially organisations like the National Committee for Families and Children.

Judith Alpuche

“We are very saddened and concerned about the number of deaths of children, seemingly in the space of two months. It’s just been one incident after another. And we really would want to urge the community at large to increase their vigilance because many of these incidents seemed like accidents, or certain situations that went terribly wrong.”

When we visited the scene, we were surprised to find that the well had still not been covered, and there were other small children in the family’s yard. Judith Alpuche, N.C.F.C.’s Executive Director, says they are appealing to families to ensure that their children’s environment is safe for them.

Judith Alpuche

“First of all, ensure that your child is always well supervised. Secondly, just walk around your house and your property, your environment as a whole, and think about your child. Think about whether or not your environment is safe for the age of child that you have. Because we know that different age children need different precautions, just to walk around, even if that means you have to scoot around on your knees to get the perspective of a toddler it’s worth the while. Things like buckets of water are a hazard for little ones. Outlets are really tempting; matches are really tempting. All these detergents that are nice smelling and colourfully are very tempting. So really go through your environment from a child’s point of view, from your child’s point of view.”

N.C.F.C. believes if safety measures regarding children are adhered to then incidents like what happened to Baby Myrna Burgos would not occur. Jacqueline Woods for News 5.

According to police, post-mortem results revealed Myrna Burgos died of asphyxia due to drowning.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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