A LEISURE centre that locked children inside while staff went to a barbecue is now under fire amid claims a child almost drowned during a swimming lesson.
The Live Active centre in Blairgowrie, Perth and Kinross, was forced to apologise after staff accidentally left five children trapped inside on Saturday night.
A furious mum has now claimed that her 4-year-old daughter was put in an advanced swimming lesson and sank to the bottom of the pool earlier the same day.
Pictures have now emerged of staff at the leisure centre barbecue that evening, sat around a table with alcohol and food..
Marion Thompson, 29, took her daughter for her first swimming lesson at the centre on Saturday morning – but distressed Rheagan disappeared underwater for “what seemed like an eternity” after being put in the wrong class.
Marion said: “I cannot believe nobody noticed she was in the wrong lesson. She was a good two feet shorter than everyone else.
“As this was her first swimming lesson, she was booked into a level one class.”
Marion, a full-time student walked her daughter to meet her instructor before taking a place in the viewing area.
“To my surprise, Rheagan was standing by the edge in the middle section of the pool,” she said.
“She did not have arm bands on, nor was she holding a float. There were no swimming instructors in the water nearby.
“To my horror, all the children jumped into the water at the same time, including Rheagan.
“Because she can’t swim, she was fully submerged and unable to surface. At this point, the instructor was preoccupied and did not notice my daughter struggling in the deep water.
“After a few seconds, the other children had swum back to the edge of the pool but Rheagan had still not surfaced.
“I immediately ran through the changing rooms and down to the pool-side, where I was relieved to see Rheagan had been helped out of the pool.”
Marion comforted her “seriously distressed” daughter at the edge of the pool, until she felt ready to rejoin the correct class.
“The staff on duty did not seem to realise the seriousness of the incident, nor were they interested in my concerns,” she added.
“They should have checked all the children’s names on their list before letting them anywhere near the water.”
The incident happened just a day before pictures of the centre’s staff emerged showing them sat with bottles of cider and alcopops and eating what appears to be alcohol-infused watermelon at a barbeque.
The pictures are thought to have been taken whilst five children were left “breathing through a crack” after a member of staff locked up the building and set the alarm when they were still inside.
The girls, aged between eight and 11, were still in the changing room after going for a swim at the centre.
Workers failed to realise the children were still inside, and the girls had to wait for nearly an hour until their parents arrived and called the police.
Tracy Barrie, whose two daughters were among those trapped, said the whole situation was “shocking”.
“I’m really quite angry at the whole situation,” she said. “Especially the photos of the party being posted on Facebook on Sunday night, long after the incident had happened and the people involved knew what had happened.
“It just feels like bare-faced cheek showing them enjoying themselves to the whole world while we were being traumatized ten minutes away.”
Speaking about the swimming class mix-up, a Live Active spokeswoman said: “We will contact Mrs Thompson directly to discuss her concerns and do everything we can to ensure her daughter enjoys future lessons.”