2-Year-Old Drowns at Park During Family BBQ, Who Is to Blame?
by Lisa Fogarty
The Fourth of July weekend ended in tragedy for one New York City family. Their 2-year-old daughter fell into a park lake and drowned after wandering off with her cousin during a family BBQ celebration.
Ruhshona Kurbonova, who is the youngest child in a family that includes three brothers, reportedly walked off with her 3-year-old cousin while their families were picnicking by a boathouse near Prospect Park's scenic lake. The children were gone for an agonizing five hours, during which their parents, police, and several strangers -- who had gathered for their own barbecues -- searched the 585-acre park for them.
Cops found the older boy first -- and he was covered in the deep green algae that also coats the lake. And then every parent's nightmare: Ruhshona's body was discovered dead in the murky water.
It goes without saying, the toddler's mother was reportedly inconsolable over her little girl's death. Her uncle said the kids walked off and no one had any idea they were gone. I can see how that could happen because children -- particularly at that age -- really can escape in seconds if we don't keep them glued to our side at all times.
When something tragic happens, especially if it is the result of an accident, we often search for something to blame. But parkgoers didn't have to look very far this weekend to find a culprit: the "dirty" lake. Police reportedly had a difficult time finding the girl because the lake is covered with Azolla caroliniana, which forms a thick green film on top of the water and makes it very difficult to distinguish between the lake and the surrounding grassy areas.
Park officials say they skim the lake weekly with a weed harvester but that the algae always grows back.
It seems totally possible that the children were playing near the lake and accidentally fell into it because they were unable to see where the water begins and the land ends. And it's heartbreaking -- no parent should ever be forced to bury her child.
But there are only so many things that can be done to tame nature. This sad story serves as an important reminder to us that if we are spending leisure time with our children in parks or on mountains or in any other natural setting, we have to remember that these dangers exist.
Do you think the park could have done more to ensure this didn't happen or was this just a tragic accident?