A man has died and his two sons are still fighting for their lives after a drowning incident at an apartment complex pool Sunday evening.
Ram Nivash Misra, 38, died Monday night, said Ajay Pandey, President of the Hindu Society of Manitoba.
Misra’s two boys, Shreyaan, 11, and Aaram, 10, are still in “very critical condition,” said Pandey.
“A couple of the community members, they are they are in the hospital and continue to … be with the family,” said Pandey.
“They are doing communication with their other family members back in India and are trying to assist them, for some of them to come over here so that some other close family members can be here and help the family.”
A witness said she heard hysterical crying before coming upon the trio unresponsive in a pool in the Courts of St. James.
Winnipeg police said three people, a father and two sons, were taken to hospital in critical condition early Sunday evening after what they call ‘an accidental incident.’
Joanna Schaaf, a tenant of the apartment complex, said she was there at the time of the accident.
“I was on my balcony and this lady came running out from the pool and she was screaming, so I thought maybe she lost her child,” she said. “So, then I went downstairs and looked inside from the glass and I saw some of the bodies.”
The mother was crying out for help, said Scaaf.
“It was terrible, I was crying the whole time just trying to help her, and she didn’t speak very well English so it was a little… it was very terrifying,” she said.
Schaaf ran down to security to call 911 before heading to the scene.
The two young victims were boys between the ages of 11 and 13, said Schaaf.
“It’s just heartbreaking. I have a son of my own and I thought ‘Oh my god,'” she said adding her son is older and can to go the pool by himself.
“Mom’s intuition, I’m going to start going now with him.”
The Misra family all moved to Canada within the past six months, said Pandey, with Ram arriving first and his wife Anupam Tripathi and two boys settling in Winnipeg two months ago.
Pandey said the best way for people to help the Misra family is to contribute to a fundraiser to help pay for bills, funeral expenses and travel for relatives.
“I want to say that this is really a tragedy … My appeal to the all community members is let us come together and do whatever the best we can do for the family.”
A water safety expert said wearing life-jackets, learning how to swim, and swimming with others can keep you safe in the water.
“We always advocate that everybody should learn how to swim, it’s not just your kids… it’s never too old to learn to swim,” said Christopher Love, Lifesaving Society, Water Smart Coordinator.
If a lifeguard isn’t on duty, Love said it’s important to figure out the water’s depth before jumping in.
“Doing an assessment of where you are, if there’s safety equipment, is there lifeguards, what is the depth profile… that little bit of prevention can avoid problems later on,” he said.
Apartment pools in Manitoba are usually considered semi-public pools, meaning they don’t require a lifeguard on duty, said Love.
“We have advocated for years and continue to advocate that semi-public pools should have lifeguards. Right now, it’s only the public pools in the province, but if you’re opening it up for general use of a larger group of people beyond a private family dwelling there is added risk,” he said.
Police have released few details about the incident, but are continuing to investigate.
-With files from Elisha Dacey