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Girl who drowned in Chesterfield gym pool had just arrived in United States

Posted at 2:22 PM, May 27, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-27 18:46:59-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- The child who drowned in the pool at American Family Fitness on Brad McNeer Parkway Tuesday night had just arrived in the United States for summer vacation. Imam Ammar Amonette, with the Islamic Center Of Virginia, said while the nine-year-old girl was born in the United States, she had lived in Palestine for the last seven years. The child returned to the United States Monday night, the day before she died.

Nine-year-old Raneen Khattab, of the 4600 block of Lynchester Drive in Chesterfield,  was swimming with relatives when she was found unresponsive in the swimming pool at about 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, Chesterfield Police said.

Raneen Khattab

Raneen Khattab (SOURCE: Family photo)

"It was reported that Raneen had fallen into the pool. The child was removed from the pool and CPR was administered. Police and fire department personnel arrived and quickly transported the child to the hospital where she died," Chesterfield Police spokeswoman Liz Caroon wrote in an email. "Police continue to investigate this incident, but at this point foul play is not suspected."

CBS 6 reporter Melissa Hipolit spoke with Raneen's uncle Wednesday afternoon.

He said Raneen knew how to swim and was at the pool with another of her uncles and another family member when she went under. He said the child was visiting the US for a three-month summer vacation and was looking forward to going to Chuck E. Cheese, Kings Dominion and Water Country.

Witnesses described the tragic scene as chaotic.

"There was a lot of screaming, yelling, the kids were crying, it was awful," witness Katie Cash said. Cash, who only heard the commotion, said a gym employee told her what had happened.

"We were just shocked. We were just staring, hoping she would be okay," Cash added.

American Family Fitness workers confirmed there was no lifeguard on duty at the time of the child's death. On the gym's website, it states  there is "No lifeguard on duty" at the swimming pool and "Children 13 and under require adult supervision; adult must be in wet area at all times."

Gym pool rules

"All of us at American Family Fitness are deeply saddened about the incident and our most sincere condolences, thoughts and prayers go out to the deceased and her family," an American Family Fitness spokesman said in a statement. "Discovery is ongoing with the police and family members and we cannot comment any further at this time."

A Wednesday night funeral service at the Islamic Center Of Virginia was scheduled for the child.