How a family trip to SeaWorld and a seemingly harmless souvenir ended in tragedy

0

On a visit to SeaWorld, six-year-old Deklan Babington-MacDonald did what thousands of Gold Coast residents do every weekend, without realizing that a souvenir from his trip would keep him alive with no hope of recovery.

While the Gold Coast is famous for being home to Australia’s largest theme parks, SeaWorld is most popular with locals as it is conveniently located on The Spit not far from Surfer’s Paradise.

The six-year-old was playing with the toys at home on ANZAC Day when the accident happened

SeaWorld is a popular theme park for locals on the Gold Coast due to its proximity

SeaWorld is a popular theme park for locals on the Gold Coast due to its proximity

DreamWorld and MovieWorld, for comparison, are located in Coomera on the northern Gold Coast and require more planning for a ‘day trip’. When the kids are crawling up the walls, SeaWorld is the easy option for a few hours of outdoor entertainment.

Dolphins, penguins, polar bears, seals and rays continue to entertain young children.

Deklan likely reached for the open touch pool at the ever-popular Ray Reef, where visitors can pet the backs of rays as they glide through the pool.

Deklan's mother Lauren (right) had been keeping a night watch next to her son since last Sunday

Deklan’s mother Lauren (right) had been keeping a night watch next to her son since last Sunday

Deklan was known as a cheerful child who had just started school on term 2 of year 1

Deklan was known as a cheerful child who had just started school on term 2 of year 1

The toy was similar to the toy pictured

The toy was similar to the toy pictured

He is said to have pressed his face against glass at Tropical Reef Lagoon to see the large, terrifying sharks swim past his nose. And watched the antics of the polar bears Hudson, Nelson and the young bear Mishka at Polar Bear Shores.

Perhaps it was during a visit to the Penguin Encounter, an indoor exhibit where you can see cheeky king penguins and gentoo penguins from above, or as they swim through an underwater window, that Deklan got the idea to ask about the penguin toys involved in his gruesome accident . a few days later.

Like any theme park, merchandise is part of the day. Visitors can only exit the park through a large gift shop full of plush penguins and polar bears, T-shirts, mugs, and key rings.

More merchandise shops and smaller stalls are spread around the site. The toys believed to have been involved in Deklan’s terrible accident – a penguin with a harness attached to a meter-long lead pole – are often seen hanging from a mobile stand outside the smaller ‘pop-up’ merchandise stalls near great attractions such as the polar bears.

It is common to see children ‘walking’ their stuffed penguin or polar bear on the pole through SeaWorld’s huge parking lot as they set off for the day.

Details of how Deklan managed to use the toys in a way that gave him life support remain unclear, but the boy’s cousin, Lea Williams, said the family expected a coronial investigation into the accident.

Three days ago, a friend posted on Facebook: “Lauren (Deklan’s mother) has asked me to share that the doctors have told Deklan that he cannot recover. Deklan life support will be discontinued within 48 hours.

As you can understand, this is a devastating time for the family, so please respect their privacy and understand that they cannot talk on the phone. They read the statements of support and appreciate all the love and kindness of the community.

The donated money goes to Deklan’s memorial and allows Lauren to make an important keepsake with Deklan’s ashes at the right time. ‘

Deklan shows off his Easter hat in his Willian Duncan State School uniform

Deklan shows off his Easter hat in his Willian Duncan State School uniform

Gold Coast police told Daily Mail Australia that there were no suspicious circumstances in their initial investigation into the accident, having been called to Deklan’s home last Sunday.

A fundraiser set up to support Deklan’s mother Lauren had raised nearly $ 12,500 Friday afternoon. Donations can be made here.

Daily Mail Australia first warned SeaWorld about the toy’s role in Deklan’s accident, prompting a statement on Thursday saying the theme park was “ troubled ” by the boy’s tragic accident and that the toys have been removed from the market for the time being. sale would be taken.

“We need to understand the circumstances surrounding what happened and will cooperate fully with any investigation,” the statement read.

We will also contact Deklan’s family to provide support. We will not comment further until all the facts are known. ‘

The principal of Deklan’s school, William Duncan State School, declined to comment when contacted by Daily Mail Australia, but all students have been given access to counseling.

“As a school community, we will come together and support each other, while respecting the privacy of the family in these most challenging times,” director Regan Gant wrote in a letter to the parents.

.