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December 16, 2009

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Double drowning spurs pain, questions

A GRIEVING father blamed the absence of alerts by a pond for two boys' deaths, and is calling on the government for compensation and improvement.

Two boys were drowned in an unattended river pond in Pudong New Area's Gaodong Town last Friday.

Local government has started to look into the incident, officials said yesterday.

But the incident involves several different city departments, and no sector has claimed major responsibility for the investigation and the incident.

"The pond belongs to a city river-broadening project, which is supervised by the city maritime authorities, and implemented by Shanghai Chengtou Corp, a state-owned company, "said Xu Jianjun, an official with the town government.

Guan Chengbiao, the father of a 12-year-old boy who died in the incident, has hired a lawyer to help him to prepare a possible lawsuit.

"At least one government department should take responsibilities for the kid's death," he said. "I was just told to wait. I don't know which department I should refer to."

His son fell into the river with one of his good friends, an eight-year-old boy, Yin Yibiao, on Friday evening.

Guan, 42, came to the city for work from his hometown in Anhui Province in 1994 and became good friends with Yin's father. The two boys were also very intimate friends.

But Yin left the city with his father last year. He just came back to visit on Friday afternoon.

"It was supposed to be a happy reunion for the two boys," Guan said.

But he found the two boys' bodies floating on the pond near his house about 8pm.

"The two boys must have accidentally slipped into the water. It's so cold. It's impossible for them to swim in the pond," he said.

The only thing he could think, he said, was: "I don't know how to tell Yin's father."

Yin's father came to the city on Saturday to help the family handle the incident.

"The water in the pond is so deep, why have no alerting signs been erected by it?" Guan asked.

Drowning has been the top killer of Shanghai youth. Forty-three primary and middle school students were drowned among the total 71 students who died for reasons other than illness in 2008.


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