2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appWhen a British diving instructor and his family were invited for a free tour of a Thai water park in the hope that they would send tourists to the attraction, they got caught up in the excitement.
But a day out soon turned to tragedy when William Watson's three-year-old son Bobby was able to wander from knee deep water straight into a plunge pool just metres away and fell in and drowned.
Now the family is considering legal action against the Blue Tree water park, which opened for business again just hours after Bobby's death, warning that there are a raft of safety failings and the lifeguards were all watching a competition on a slide when disaster struck.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appSpeaking publicly for the first time, Mr Watson said: “I will always blame myself. My son drowned in a swimming pool and I am a diving instructor and I should have been there to scoop him up.
“But Blue Tree needs to change because otherwise another child is going to drown in this way. It is too late for my son Bobby, but I don’t want Blue Tree to carry on business as usual until someone else dies.”
Mr Watson, who is originally from Bridport in Dorset, disputes the official version of events and says that the Phuket attraction has offered him money since his son’s death last Sunday.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围app“They want me to take money and shut my mouth, but if I do that and another child dies then I have got two children to grieve, I have two deaths on my conscience,” he said through tears.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围app“I need the world to know that Blue Tree is an unsafe water park.”
The THB1.3 billion (£32 million) 55-acre water park and lagoon opened to fanfare last summer in Cherng Talay, set back from Phuket’s coast.
Mr Watson and his Thai wife May, both 35, run 3 Willys Diving school on the island and had been invited to attend the park with their sons Billy, 7, and Bobby for free in the hope that they would tell tourists about it.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围app“We were taken around in a golf buggy and they kept telling us how safe it was, how many lifeguards they have,” he recalled.
“I didn’t think about safety, we got caught up in the excitement, Bobby and Billy were excited, we were having a great time.”
The family were having a picnic with friends and the two boys were playing in shallow water where Bobby found a red toy truck.
“He was monster truck crazy,” Mr Watson said. “He was playing around with it and he was loving it.”
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appMrs Watson took her eyes off of him "for 10 or 20 seconds” as she spoke to Billy and when Mr Watson returned to their table she went to find Bobby.
“When she couldn’t see him she started to panic,” Mr Watson said. “She saw the monster truck floating in the plunge pool and then looked and saw my son.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围app“She screamed “get that boy out of the water” because she couldn’t say Bobby’s name, she did not want to believe that it was him. The lifeguard asked how she knew it was a boy, saying it could be a pair of shorts.
“Then he realised and he got my son out of the bottom of the pool. He walked over to my wife and he handed her our baby.”
Another lifeguard intervened and took the child and started CPR. The family had to wait 15 minutes for an ambulance to attend from the nearest hospital, where Bobby was taken before he was pronounced dead.
Mr Watson, who has lived on Phuket for nine years, said that many attractions such as theatres on the island have a doctor on site because of the wait time for ambulances, but there were no professionals available at the water park.
Knowing how much his son loves monster trucks, Mr Watson suspects that he climbed out of the shallow water whilst playing and dropped his new-found toy into the deep pool and was trying to get it back when he fell in.
The family went back to the park on Tuesday with a Buddhist Monk to carry out a ritual for his funeral.
“When I look back there are so many things that are wrong with the safety," he said.
“Bobby got out of the swimming pool and into the plunge pool at the bottom of the slides. There is no barrier, no railing, nothing to prevent Billy or any other child going from waist deep water into a deep pool.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围app“There is no safety around the children’s play area. If you have a children’s play area you need to fence it in, you need to make sure that there is no easy access to deep water, no easy access to danger.
“There are a lot of lifeguards at the pool. But at the time that Billy fell in and drowned there was a sliding competition and they were all watching that. Nobody was watching the pool, their eyes were all fixed on the big slide.”
On the day of Bobby’s death the park released a statement saying they were “deeply distressed” by the “tragic accident”.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appThey said that Bobby stumbled and fell into the water and was spotted by a lifeguard who “came to his immediate assistance”.
“The Landing Pool area is strictly for those coming down the slides. There are highly-trained lifeguards positioned at the bottom of the slides to watch people coming down for the purpose of ensuring their safety,” the statement read.
The park last night said that they could not comment on the discrepancies in the versions of events as a police enquiry is ongoing.
“They are just trying to cover their backs, they don’t care about my son, they just don’t want to close the park down,” Mr Watson said.
There are no safety briefings when you enter the park and there are no buoyancy aids around the park which can be accessed by members of the public, Mr Watson claimed.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appA spokesman for the park said: “We are very troubled by the unfounded allegations aimed at Blue Tree Phuket, which we wholeheartedly refute.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围app“Given the desperately sad circumstances of the day's events and the fact that this is under police investigation, we are unable to share any further details. We stand by our statement as shared as factually correct and cannot say any more at this time."
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appMr Watson is calling for the safety at the park to be reviewed and for barriers and life saving devices to be installed in public areas.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appBobby will be cremated on Monday in his big brother’s old football kit which he so loved to wear.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围app“Bobby was a cheeky little monkey,” Mr Watson said. “He was clever and he was naughty and he ran our house. If he wanted to sleep in the middle of the bed he did and we would sleep around him.
“He never stopped talking and everywhere he went people loved him. He was the best thing I had in my life, him and Billy. If it wasn’t for Billy and May I couldn’t carry on, he was everything to us and we are ruined, we are in pieces.”