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Grandmother tried to save girl, three, who drowned in Blackpool hotel pool

A grandmother fought in vain to save the life of a three-year-old girl pulled from a hotel swimming pool.

Carole Greenwood rescued the youngster from the bottom of the seven-foot deep pool and managed to get her breathing but hospital doctors could not save her life.

Police are describing the death as "unexplained" after officers were called shortly before 11am yesterday following the report of a child drowning at the Dalmeny Hotel on South Promenade in St Annes, Lancashire.

A 40-year-old woman from Galashiels, Scotland remains in police custody after being arrested on suspicion of murder and child neglect.

Mrs Greenwood, from St Annes, is a member of the leisure club at the hotel and was getting ready to take her grandson, Riley, aged two, swimming in the pool when the incident began.

She said: "I was in the changing rooms and a lady came in and said 'There's an incident in the pool, is there a life guard?'

"The child was on the bottom of the pool, so I dived in and got her out."

Mrs Greenwood, a former pool attendant, life guard and swimming teacher, added: "I wasn't really aware of what had happened when I got there, my concern was with the little girl and rescuing her and resuscitating her as best I could.

"She was on the bottom, she was unresponsive and I pulled her out as per my training and then I resuscitated her on the side.

"I did manage to resuscitate her and she was breathing when the ambulance arrived.

"Obviously I'm devastated for the poor little girl, it's very sad.

"At the time you are quite shocked because all your training is coming into action something you think you will never ever do but I'm satisfied I helped out in this case."

Mrs Greenwood said the incident was a tragic warning about the dangers of children in water.

She added: "Basically children in swimming pools should be looked after by their own parents.

"It's not necessary to have life guards necessarily because life guards are there to prevent accidents and parents have got to be aware that children can't swim, they are not strong swimmers and they need to wear floatation aids especially little children and older children need to be monitored as well."

The girl was initially taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital and then later transported to Royal Manchester Children's Hospital in a critical condition but pronounced dead at 7.55pm last night.

A Home Office post mortem will take place in due course to confirm the exact cause of death.

Detective Chief Inspector Dean Holden from Lancashire Police, said: "We are treating this tragic incident as an unexplained death and are continuing to investigate just how the child has come into difficulties in the pool.

"Our thoughts remain with the child's family at this sad time."

Guests at the hotel today spoke of their shock about the incident.

Simon Barr, on holiday with his wife, Linzi, 42, and children, Sammy, aged three and Jacob, seven months, said: "I think it's totally tragic for somebody to come on holiday, we have a three-year-old child as well, to come away on holiday and all of a sudden this to happen."

Mr Barr, assistant head teacher at Wembley Primary School in London, said: "We heard a girl had been taken away by ambulance then from that moment lots of police arrived.

"It was only later on we heard on the news the girl had died.

"The hotel didn't want to divulge anything.

"The pool was closed, it was a crime scene yesterday but re-opened today.

"The atmosphere is pretty subdued really. The only conversation going on is what's happened."

Another guest said: "It's shocking, especially when it's a child's death, it's just so sad. I don't know what happened but it was caught on CCTV one member of staff said."

A guest, who did not want to give his name, said he saw the arrested woman being taken away by police, "in shock".

He said the night before she had been with two young girls enjoying dinner at the hotel with the other guests.

He added: "They just seemed like a normal family on holiday.

"I was in the room yesterday and I saw the ambulance outside and saw them come out with what looked like a defibrillator.

"Because my wife is six months pregnant I thought...then my wife came up to the room and said a little girl has been pulled from the pool.

"My daughter saw the little girl being carried out to the ambulance.

"I saw the woman arrested going with the police. She wasn't cuffed. She looked just in shock.

"The pool was closed. Police arrived and started taking statements from anyone who was there."

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