Schoolboy drowned on French holiday while lifeguard 'tried to find his goggles'

Jake Taylor, 11, slipped beneath the water in a busy swimming lagoon at the La Croix Du Vieux Pont campsite in northern France in August 2019. He later died in a Paris hospital. The boy’s parents, desperate for answers, want the pool “properly investigated”.

Rebecca Wilson, a paramedic who was on holiday at the campsite during the tragic event, saw people giving Jake CPR and offered assistance.

She told HullLive: “When I arrived there was no lifeguard present.

“I began chest compressions. I knew he needed further treatment but there was no medical equipment available at that point.

“After 30 minutes an anaesthetist turned up and I told him my concerns. Then police and medics arrived and I was ushered away.”

The inquest heard from Ms Wilson the lifeguard at the campsite seemed “more concerned” about finding his goggles than saving the boy’s life.

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She said: “It was a group of teenagers who managed to pull Jake out.

“I spoke to his mum who said Jake had been missing for five minutes and had pleaded with the lifeguard to look for Jake but seemed reluctant to.

“She said he was more concerned with trying to find his goggles.”

Senior coroner Prof Paul Marks said: “The lifeguard’s explanation was that he needed his goggles to be able to see underwater but also felt it was difficult to search for Jake because there were so many clients in the water.”

A criminal investigation into Jake’s death, which was led by the French Gendarmerie, concluded no criminal proceedings would be pursued against any of the parties involved in the accident, which happened at around 6pm on August 22.

Medical records showed the boy had no underlying health conditions, and a pathologist found his death happened due to drowning.

Ms and Mr Taylor, the boy’s parents, have previously given their lawyers permission to press for more answers.

Ms Taylor said: “What it comes down to is that no one will get charged, but our solicitor can push for more to get the pool properly investigated.”

Solicitor Paul McClorry, of Hudgell Solicitors, last year said: “Many holidaymakers who have visited the site have raised concerns about the depth of the lagoon in certain areas, both people who were there at the same time as Jake’s family and people who had visited previously.

“They were of the opinion that parts of the lagoon were deeper than the 1.8m advertised.

“That, of course, is an area which we feel needs further clarity.”

Ms and Mr Taylor wrote in a statement: “Where do we start with writing a character reference for the most caring and loving son.

“He had a heart of gold and cared about everyone.

“If you were feeling down he would make you smile and give you the most loving hugs.

“He would not do anything if he thought he might get hurt.

“He had a lot of friends at school and the teachers loved him.

“He was such a kind-hearted young man.”

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