Kajil Devi inquest told about fatal game
FIFTEEN-YEAR-OLD Kajil Devi drowned in a man-made lake when she slipped as she and her cousins played a game with an inflatable boat, an inquest has heard.
Neither Kajil nor her young cousins could swim and the tragedy happened when they were briefly alone after an older relative went to get some food.
One of her cousins, a 13-year-old boy who cannot be named by order of the coroner, told the Gloucester inquest that after her older cousin Akshay Kumar, 18, had left they played a game where one was pushed out on the boat and then pulled back with a rope by the others.
But Kajil and a girl cousin could not catch the rope when he was in the boat and he started drifting further out, he said.
Kajil and the other cousin tried to reach the rope and that was when Kajil seemed to slip and go under the water.
He said this happened three times, but the third time when the younger cousin grabbed the rope, Kajil went under and all he could see was her hair.
The younger cousin, now 11, told the inquest Kajil had been behind her and had previously said she needed to go to the toilet, so when she could not see her, she at first assumed she had done so.
She said Kajil had been taller than her, so she must have slipped or caught her foot to make her go under.
Kajil, of South Road, Feltham, Middx, was later found in the water at the Cotswold Water Park at Ashton Keynes, and despite the best efforts of lifeguards and others on the beach, she could not be revived.
Claims were made at the time in July 2010 about a lack of supervision at the beauty spot.
Kajil’s brother Amin Kumar said he only saw one lifeguard on duty when the girl disappeared at the popular lakeside beauty spot.
Kajil and Amin were there with their parents Sunil Kumar, 44, and his wife Nima Devi, 41, together with aunts and uncles and their children.
Akshay Kumar has told the inquest that when he got back to the lake and realised what was happening he first hunted on the shore for Kajil and then, with one of his uncles, searched in the water with a pair of goggles.
But, he said, it was so murky he could not see anything.
He then went to tell a female lifeguard that Kajil had been missing for about 20 to 30 minutes, and was told that if she was in the water she would be floating, so she must be on the shore, he said.
Kajil's father, Sunil Kumar, told the inquest that at one point he thought someone may have kidnapped her.
Speaking through an interpreter he said all the family were "totally confused" upon receiving reports of his daughter going missing.
The inquest heard her body was pulled from the water by Nathan Stroud, 26, from Gloucester, who was spending the afternoon at the lake.
Mr Stroud told the inquest his friend, Pierre, had "stumbled" on something under water and "looked scared".
"I searched for a minute or two and remember touching something with my leg," he told Gloucestershire's assistant deputy coroner Tom Osborne.
"It felt like a cushion. I reached down to grab it and pulled up a purple t-shirt and saw it was a little girl."
He said that there was no sign of life and had instantly tried to get her to the shore where he yelled for help.
Kavil was given CPR by a lifeguard and taken to hospital where she was certified dead the following day.