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Published 2021-11-16
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14-year-old girl drowned under a pool cover at swim practice. Parents are seeking $70 million in damages.

This is a tragedy that should never have happened. Nabila, 14, a teenage swimmer, went to swim practice, as always, at a recreation center in the town of Hillsboro, USA. It was the last day of her life and she never returned home. She drowned under a heavy cover as she helped her teammates pull the cover over the pool after class ended. No one, not the coach or her teammates, noticed that the girl was gone. No one was looking for her, everyone had left the facility. By the time they started looking for her, it was too late to save her life. Now, the mother and father of the dead girl have filed a lawsuit for damages and are demanding $70 million. How did the tragedy happen? Who noticed the 14-year-old's absence and who do Nabila's parents blame for her death?

No one noticed the girl's disappearance

Nabila Maazouz was a student at the private Oregon Episcopal School. A passionate girl, she had her whole life ahead of her; unfortunately, she died tragically at just 14 years old. It was an ordinary day in her life. The girl went to a swimming class that she attended regularly. She entered the Shute Park Aquatic & Recreation Center in Hillsboro, Oregon, and never left the facility. After class, she helped cover the pool. No one on the staff or her teammates noticed that she had suddenly disappeared...

Mom raised the alarm

The girl's absence was only noticed by her mother, who came to pick up her daughter. The woman, waiting in the car outside the sports facility at the end of the training, immediately noticed that after the class everyone, except Nabila, was leaving the building. Both her teammates, other team members, and the coach left. The teen's concerned mother then acted promptly. She entered the building to ask where her daughter was and raised the alarm, notifying the staff. A search was launched for the missing girl, but it was too late for her. According to the Hillsboro Police Department, she was found dead 20-25 minutes after her mother intervened. The girl's body was located under the pool cover at the deep end of the pool. Why did such a tragedy occur?

No one noticed the girl's disappearance

Coaches told students to secure pool

The 14-year-old's horrific death occurred on November 20, 2019, at the end of swimming class. Nabila Maazouz was practicing with her team as always. The coaches instructed the young swimmers to secure the pool after class by rolling out a set of covers. The girl and several of her teammates agreed to do so. According to the information, the facility's pool was covered with an assortment of heavy-duty covers that create suction when they are unrolled on the surface of the water. So the teens grabbed one part of the cover after class and swam with it to the deeper end of the pool. Then, when that part adequately covered the surface of the water, they swam back to the shallow end undercover to do the same with the other part of the cover. Nabla and her colleagues repeated the activity. Then, after unrolling the last piece of cover, the teen found herself in trouble. While her friends swam back under the other cover Nabila didn't manage to swim out and stayed under.

Circumstances of the tragic death

The rest of the swim team, unaware of their friend's disappearance, finished covering the pool, the coaches turned off the lights and everyone left, leaving the facility. According to a lawsuit filed by Nabila's family, no one even noticed her disappearance. The 14-year-old's body was found under the cover in the deep end of the pool. The entire incident is horrific, but the most devastating part is that a girl who could swim very well was probably drowning, knowing that she was trapped and unable to swim out

Resuscitation of the teenager was unsuccessful

When the trainers and staff of the center, after the intervention of the girl's mother, found and pulled out her body from the pool, they also tried to restore vital functions. They started to resuscitate her, but it did not bring any results. Unfortunately, the 14-year-old was underwater too long and the rescue operation failed. Police were called to the facility where the accident occurred at 9:26 p.m.- more than 25 minutes after the training ended. Nabila was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later.

Parents seek compensation

The distraught and grieving parents of the deceased teen; mother Patty and father Mostafa, filed a lawsuit this fall, two years after their daughter's untimely death in the Circuit Court of Washington County, Oregon. They are seeking $70 million in damages. They believe that their daughter's death was caused by the negligence of those responsible for the health and lives of youths participating in swimming activities. The mother and father of the tragically deceased teenager have filed suit against the City of Hillsboro, the school district, and the company that manufactured the pool covers that were used at Shute Park Aquatic & Recreation Center. They are also suing Portland-based pool vendor The Pool and Spa House. Nabila's death, they argue, was a direct result of their collective negligence. As compensation, they have demanded $70 million in damages. Nothing, however, will bring them back their daughter's life…

Mom raised the alarm

A tragedy that could have been prevented

"We continue to live through the worst nightmare a parent can experience. The people who are responsible for this tragedy must be held accountable. We don't want another family to go through what we went through," - The deceased's mother, Patricia Maazouz, said, referring to herself and her husband. She also added: "what is the worst thing about all this is that Nabila's death could have been prevented". The woman noted that she and her husband hope that through this process, concrete changes will be made in such water facilities to prevent further tragedies.

Details of the lawsuit

According to reports, the lawsuit accuses the Hillsboro School District, the City of Hillsboro, and the city's Parks and Recreation Department of allowing teenagers in training to swim under the pool covers. The parents of the 14-year-old are making accusations of gross negligence; there were no properly trained personnel on-site to safely cover the pool. They point to the lack of supervision by the swim team when covering the pool to make sure it was done safely. There was also a lack of a lifeguard whose duty it was to make sure everyone got out of the pool. Patty and her husband Mostafa claim that the ThermaGard pool covers were "defective and unreasonably dangerous," causing their daughter to become trapped. As stated in the lawsuit, the covers also violated industry safety standards and did not meet the labeling requirements for a pool cover.

 Coaches told students to secure pool

Statements on the teen's death

It has been 2 years since the 14-year-old's passing, but the incidents during swim practice are still being reported. District authorities declined to comment on the lawsuit filed by the parents of the deceased girl, but issued a statement in regards to the teen's death, writing: 'Nabila's death was a tragedy that we continue to mourn. Our hearts and thoughts continue to go out to her family and all who knew her.' The city responded to the incident through its spokesman, Patrick Preston, who said in a statement to The Oregonian, 'Our hearts remain with the Maazouz family and everyone in our community who is devastated by Nabili's tragic death.’ It added that the City of Hillsboro is committed to the safety and well-being of all community members at all city facilities. Hillsboro School District spokesperson Beth Graser, for her part, said the death of 14-year-old Nabila "was a tragedy that we all continue to mourn."

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Circumstances of the tragic death
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