Police say it’s likely the local coroner will hold an inquest into the death of a five-year girl on the playground of the Moose Factory Ministik School.
Michelle Martin, a senior kindergarten student, died in an accident while playing on playground equipment the morning of Friday, Feb. 3- Michelle had just finished her day in school. She went to her foster home across the street and afterwards came back to the playground with another child.
The playground structure in question was put up in October. It consisted of tree swing, a two slides and each section was divided by a walkway each with a different level.
A police report said Michelle attempted to cross over on the walkway and she may have fallen in between an opening between the levels of each walkway. She slid through the opening and her head got stuck. The cause of death was listed as asphyxiation.
Coroner Dr. Michael Bayer of the Weeneebayko General Hospital said it is likely the inquest will start following his preliminary investigation, which he is still conducting. “We don’t want to rush into it because we want to get our facts straights and make sure we’re not leaving any stones unturned,” said Dr. Bayer.
“I’m not at this point convinced there was any wrongdoing on anybody’s part and I want to be careful not to blame people who don’t deserve the blame.” Dr. Bayer said if an inquest is done, it will make recommendations so incidents like this do not happen again. It will request answers from the school board, the Canadian Safety Standards Council and Henderson Recreation Equipment Ltd. of Norwich, Ont., the company that built the playground equipment. The inquest will also look at better supervision for children.
Meanwhile, the school is still trying to overcome the tragic incident. The school had support from different agencies to help students and teachers deal with the issue.
All the playground equipment has been dismantled and future equipment will have to go through a safety committee.