Screaming girl, 6, sucked into swimming pool pump and left trapped for three hours in agony on Costa del Sol holiday

A SIX-YEAR-OLD girl was sucked into a swimming pool pump and left trapped for three hours in agony while on holiday in Costa del Sol.

Terrified Zara Clarkson desperately had to keep her head above water for hours as firefighters armed with jackhammers smashed through the pool's concrete wall to free her.

The little girl's arm has since swollen three times its normal size – with doctors fearing she could have suffered blood poisoning from the suction.

Dad Zack, 46, of Manchester, said: "Zara was panicking and screamed out ‘daddy the pool is sucking me and it won’t stop.

"Something with that kind of suction would have easily pulled a smaller child under the water and they would have been killed."

Zack said his instinct had been to drag his daughter’s arm out but he stopped knowing this risked causing even greater damage.

Instead, he stayed "cheek to cheek" with Zara keeping her calm as emergency services attempted to saw open the pool’s drainage system.

He said: "She is a brave little kid but of course, but it has had an effect on her, she is really upset and has told us she never wants to go swimming again."

Zara was panicking and screamed out ‘daddy the pool is sucking me and it won’t stop'


The dad and daughter were enjoying their first family holiday at the luxury villa in Estepona with Zara’s twin sister Lucy and their mum Claire, 42, having only brought the property in the Villas de Santa Maria at Christmas.

But the trip was ruined as little Zara became stuck on Friday, with dramatic images showing the poolside patio torn up circular saws and drills used by emergency services.

Zack added: "I am a tough lad but my first thought was to go to the corner of the pool and have a quiet sob.

Zara’s mum Claire added: "It was unbearable, I felt helpless and just wanted her out."

Doctors now fear that the force of the suction may have forced toxins to be released into Zara’s bloodstream.


Immediately after the ordeal, Zack called his neighbour Tony Reddin, 59, who is one of Spain’s leading swimming pool engineers.

Tony, who sold the villa to the family, said: "It's so shocking that they left the pump on.

"Zack swam past it the other day and went ‘f*** me, it’s strong’.

"Imagine you’ve got long hair, you’d be sucked in and that’s it, you’re dead. She is lucky to be alive."

It had been claimed in respected local newspaper Diario Sur that the pump switched was switched off at the time of the incident, but Tony disputes this.

He said: "People have said the pump was off, but it was definitely on."

The real estate agent, who won Come Dine with Me in 2011, said one of the issues is that gardeners in Spain are often left in charge of swimming pools.

He said: "There are hundreds of pools on the Costa del Sol where they leave the gardener in charge of the pool.

"They are gardeners and they should be trained properly.

The Sun has contacted the villa for comment.

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