Family struck by tragedy after 19-month-old boy drowns in Griffith irrigation canal

A FAMILY outing has turned to tragedy after a toddler vanished from his parents’ side and plunged into an irrigation canal in Griffith on Tuesday night.

The Morris Road irrigation canal in Griffith.

The Morris Road irrigation canal in Griffith.

Despite frantic attempts by paramedics to revive the 19-month-old, he was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at Griffith Base Hospital.

In a heartbreaking turn of events, the young family was visiting friends at Morris Road, Lake Wyangan when they decided to test out a remote control boat in an adjacent irrigation canal.

The family returned to the friends’ house soon after and discovered the toddler was missing.

After a desperate search, a passing driver noticed the toddler floating in the canal and informed his parents.

Paramedics recovered the boy from the canal and performed CPR, but it was too late.

The drowning has shocked the Griffith community and again raised questions about having unfenced irrigation canals running through the city.

The accident dredged up sombre memories for Griffith woman Robyn Shaw, who lost her young daughter Stacey-Lee in an irrigation canal 40 years ago.

The four-year-old was being minded by her grandparents when she followed the pet dog across the road and tumbled into a canal.

“It only takes a split-second for this to happen,” Mrs Shaw said.

“You can’t wrap them in cotton wool but you have to keep an eye on them.

“If they want to get into the water, they’ll get into the water.

“No one should have to go through what we’ve been through.”

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