herald

Monday 29 May 2017

'I miss her so much', says father of tragic pool death girl (9)

Michaela was pronounced dead at Crumlin hospital
Michaela was pronounced dead at Crumlin hospital

The father of a nine-year-old girl who died tragically at a swimming pool in Dublin has described the heartbreaking moment he tried to save her.

Michaela Gonda (9) was having a swimming lesson at the Tallaght Community School Sports Complex in Balrothery, Co Dublin, when she fell ill on Friday evening.

Her devastated father, Mike Gonda, spoke of his heartbreak at the weekend and about the moment he tried to save his only child.

Disappeared

"She was at her swimming class and myself and my wife Yvonne were watching her. She was calling 'mammy, look at me', 'daddy, can you see me swimming?' and we were watching her.

"Then she disappeared and we couldn't see her anymore. My wife asked 'where's Michaela?' and I ran over to the pool, where I saw her underwater.

"I jumped into the pool to save her, I would do anything for her."

Mr Gonda said that efforts were made to resuscitate his young daughter at the pool.

Michaela was transferred to Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin, where she was pronounced dead a short time later.

Her heartbroken father described her as a happy, loving, smart child.

"She loved singing, swimming, cycling, dancing. She was very active," he said.

"We'd buy her anything she wanted because she was our only child."

Surgery

Mr Gonda said that Michaela was born with a heart problem and had two heart operations in her short life.

"She had heart surgery at four months old and in 2015. She never complained about anything," he said.

"Even though she was turning 10 soon, she would sleep beside me and my wife every night and would hold our hands together. I really miss her so much."

Gardai say they are treating the incident as sudden death. A post-mortem will be carried out to determine the cause of Michaela's death.

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