After the tragic death of three young people over the New Year at Hotel Savera, the Pongal season has witnessed another disaster: a school-going child has drowned in the lake at the Queensland Amusement Park on the Bangalore Highway, off Poonamallee.
The drowning of R.Anusha of Dr. Vimala Nagar in Medavakkam near Tambaram was apparently caused by the collision of two boats in the lake, causing the child to drown. The adults who fell into the water were rescued.
It was not long ago that a school excursion in Kerala turned into a horrifying tragedy and many children died. At that time, The Hindu had written an editorial calling for safeguards at all public places where tourists were taken out in boats. If the amusement park had invested in life jackets for all its patrons, as is normally the practice in professionally-run tourist attractions the world over, this tragedy would not have taken place.
The other point is about insurance. The Queensland Amusement Park may not meet the necessary risk reduction requirements. Even if it did, it is doubtful that it has insurance to cover such accidents. When insurance is applied for, the companies providing the cover usually ensure that appropriate norms — such as lifejackets for boating rides — are introduced. That is in the interest of both resort and visitor, and to keep the risk of bad accidents low.
If any good has to come out of such ghastly tragedies, it must lead to severe curbs on all resorts; they must be compelled to abide by safety norms. Quite simply, there are no short cuts to safety.