Negligence Behind Electrocution of 5-year-old, Police Say

The electrocution of a 5-year-old boy on Monday was caused by negligence, police said yesterday.

A police investigation identified negligence in the installation and maintenance of a mushroom-shaped waterfall as the cause of Monday's accident in a swimming pool in Kiryat Motzkin, in which Itai Freum was electrocuted.

The boy, who is from a Haifa suburb, remained on respirators last night in serious condition at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa. Police have questioned the owner of the Galei Gil swimming pool, Gabi Ben Galim, along with the pool's manager and maintenance custodian. The three were released on restricted custody for five days.

After the accident, Zevulun District police asked an authorized electrician to inspect the scene. The expert arrived yesterday at the country club, which has been closed since the incident; his comprehensive check identified defects in the electrical system operating the mushroom waterfall.

A police spokesmen yesterday confirmed that this preliminary investigation had identified defects in the structure, and indicated that the electrician will submit a final report in another few days. Shortly after Monday's electrocution, the amateurish electrical connection leading to the mushroom pump was readily observable to witnesses on scene.

Freum had been splashing in the kiddie pool with several other youngsters and apparently received an electrical shock as a result of the faulty installation and maintenance of the waterfall structure, causing him to lose consciousness.

Pool owner Gabi Ben Galim denied any faulty wiring. "This is an insulated cable. The connection was installed professionally and it works all the time," he said.