The parents of a five-year-old boy who drowned while playing near a deep puddle are suing the companies in charge of the construction area where the puddle was located.
Yesterday, The Third City Court of Beijing heard that in February 2013, the five-your-old boy had been playing with his friends near the family’s rented home in the Zhaoyang district when he climbed over a fence into a courtyard where a large puddle of water at least two meters deep had collected.
The puddle was only partially frozen from the winter, and the boy fell in as he and his friends were playing. He was later found dead by rescue teams.
The boy’s father, surnamed Ding, filed a lawsuit against the Eastern Outskirts of Agribusiness Company and the Tianlun Real Estate Company over the dilapidated iron fencing that he said contributed to his child’s death. He asked for a compensation of over 860,000 RMB.
The court said that the area was private property owned by the Eastern Outskirts of Agribusiness Company, and was gated with working security guards. Ding’s son should not have been unattended at the age of five or crossing private property, the court ruled, placing responsibility on the parents.
The court also noted, however, that both companies took action to repair the iron gates and to secure the area immediately after the death of Ding’s son, and ruled that the two firms were at minor fault. The court ordered a penalty of 80,000 RMB in compensation to be paid.
Ding appeared at a second hearing to appeal the ruling, but the companies stood by their original defense. They argued that Ding’s son was too young to be left alone, and he should not have trespassed on private property.
“I went to the puddle again, and there is still an un-gated opening to get in,” Ding said.
The case remains open and the trial is expected to resume soon.
By Teresa Lou
[Photo Credit: Alexander Rentsch ]