A father has revealed he is still disturbed by the image of his daughter lying “lifeless” on the cement after falling from a 3 meter diving board.
The distraught father’s victim impact statement was read in Southport Magistrates Court on Wednesday after Gold Coast City Council pleaded guilty to endangering the life of a person by failing to comply with a health and safety duty .
The court heard the girl, aged 4, had fallen after sliding between the railings next to the trampoline and landing headlong on the concrete below on January 3, 2021.
He was severely concussed and suffered multiple fractures to his skull and spine, but recovered after spending more than a week in hospital.
Even though more than three years have passed since the incident, the father said the incident scarred him mentally.
A father is still haunted by the image of his daughter after she fell headlong onto concrete from a 3m diving board at the Gold Coast Aquatic Center (pictured). The girl suffered multiple fractures but later recovered.
Lead Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) prosecutor Gretchan McKinley said the family’s victim impact statement revealed they were all deeply shocked by the incident.
“Her father describes hearing the sound her head made when it hit the concrete and the image of her lifeless body haunts him,” Ms. McKinley told the court, the Gold Coast Newsletter reports.
“Along with the impact on her older sister… who has also been severely affected and is suffering from panic attacks.”
It was also revealed that the young victim was told not to participate in childhood activities such as riding a bicycle or scooter, or even jumping, to reduce the chances of her recovery being delayed.
“(The family) also describes the consequences at home, emotional outbursts, brain fatigue, headaches and dizziness,” Ms McKinley said.
The court heard that a lifeguard on duty told the girl and her sister they would be safe even though they did not pay the additional fee to use the trampoline.
The council’s defense lawyer, Christopher Murdoch, said the council accepted it was an “omission” not to complete a risk assessment specific to the diving resort.
He told the court the risk of someone falling off the board was “in retrospect…reasonably foreseeable”.
The January 2021 incident resulted in Gold Coast City Council being fined $125,000 for a workplace health and safety breach (pictured, Gold Coast Aquatic Centre)
Murdoch informed the court that numerous safety precautions were in place at the time of the incident, including lifeguards, signage and rules that children under 12 must be closely supervised by an adult.
He also said the pool was briefly closed to the public and other measures have since been introduced, including additional staff training and vertical bars on the sides of the board.
The diving tower is mainly used for training and events by the Paradise Diving Club, which trains from “beginners to professionals”, while the public must pay a fee to use the boards.
Magistrate Joan White said that while the council had completed a risk assessment of the entire centre, it had not “carried out a specific risk assessment in relation to the use of the diving facilities by the public”.
Ms White also accepted it was the council’s first breach of WHS standards and that the diving tower met construction standards as it was monitored by lifeguards.
He imposed a fine of $125,000 and ordered the city to also pay $1,601.40 in court costs.