Five-year-old Itai Freum
Five-year-old Itai Freum Photo by Reproduction
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A 5-year-old boy is in serious condition after suffering electric shock while swimming in a public pool in Kiryat Motzkin.

The incident, in which Itai Freum was injured, is believed to have been caused by an electric current transmitted by a wire connected to a water pump. The wire ran along an awning which was affixed a few meters above the pool. Police questioned the owner of the establishment, Gabi Ben Galim, over the incident, and authorities are investigating whether negligence played a role.

The day began innocently enough for the Freum family from the Haifa suburb of Kiryat Haim: Arieh and Deganit with their two children, Liran, and his younger brother Itai.

"We decided we were going to be spontaneous and take advantage of the last two weeks of summer vacation," said Arieh Freum, an executive at the investment firm Clal Finance. "I work a lot and we don't get many chances to spend time together."

According to Freum, he was swimming in the water with his two sons, filming them with a video camcorder. "We were in the pool, we were going on the slides, and Itai wanted to go into the kiddie pool. Then I went to the bigger adult pool. Five minutes later, it happened."

The pool designated for small children features an overhanging mushroom-shaped structure that acts as a mini-waterfall for the swimmers.

The contraption is hooked up to an electric cable that channels power into a pump that extracts water and reroutes it onto the structure, pouring it on the swimmers below.

Investigators suspect that the cable was exposed, due to improper installation.

"I was in the kids' pool with my daughter and her friend," said Dana Zafran, a patron at the pool. "Suddenly we heard a few women scream that they felt electric currents on their legs.

"The women began exiting the pool with their children," Zafran said. "Suddenly, within seconds, I see the boy on the pavement, unconscious and bloated."

After the incident, Itai sank underwater and swallowed large amounts of water, after which he was extricated him from the pool. There was no medic on duty at the time, but a bather who was a nurse performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on the boy until Magen David Adom paramedics arrived at the scene.

Once his pulse returned, Itay was evacuated to Rambam Medical Center, where he was sedated and placed on a respirator.

"Everybody should keep a close eye on your children, because death lurks everywhere," said Arieh Freum. "He went away from me for five minutes, and that is when disaster happened."

Gabi Ben Galim denied that the wiring was at fault. "This is an insulated cable and the connection was installed professionally and it works all the time," he said.