British boy found unconscious in pool on cruise ship

Independence of the Seas leaving Southampton

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A six-year-old British boy is in a "grave" condition in a French hospital after being found unconscious in a cruise ship's swimming pool.

The child's heart had stopped when he was found, a port official told the AFP news agency.

The ship's doctor got his heart beating again and he was transferred to hospital in Brest by helicopter, the Times reported.

He was travelling with his parents on the 338-metre Independence of the Seas.

The cruise liner sails under the flag of the Bahamas.

Rescue services in France were alerted to the incident shortly before 1300 BST.

A navy helicopter was scrambled and arrived at 1340 BST,

Yann Bouvard, a spokesman for the maritime prefecture in Brest, north-west France, told AFP: "The child was found in a state of cardio-respiratory arrest at the bottom of the ship's pool."

He was taken to hospital in Brest, north west France, and arrived around 1500 BST.

The Times quoted Mr Bouvard adding: "What is terrible is that children can drown without making any noise at all.

"We've never had a case of a boy drowning in a pool on a ship before, but we have, unfortunately, a lot of experience of that happening in pool on land and we know that it can happen to anyone, anywhere".

The Independence of the Seas has four pools on board and is capable of carrying up to 3,600 passengers.

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