Community in shock after Golders Green boy, four, drowns in Spain
PUBLISHED: 15:10 19 August 2015 | UPDATED: 15:10 19 August 2015
A community is in mourning after a four-year-old boy from Golders Green drowned in a swimming pool while on holiday with his family in Spain.
The child, named as Refoel Berkowitz, fell into the pool as he played with a group of children at the villa the family were renting in Mijas, Costa del Sol.
This week members of the Orthodox Jewish community at the Bridge Lane Beth Hamedrash Synagogue, where the family worshipped, were in mourning.
Synagogue secretary Eric Brunner confirmed that the family were members of the synagogue but declined to comment any further.
Meanwhile the Hiemishe live news organisation tweeted a picture of the youngster with the words: “At age four, Refoel Ben Dina, child found in pool on holidays in Spain.
“Condolence to family Berkowitz ..we will update on Levaya (funeral).”
Refoel fell into the water as he played with older children while his parents entertained friends, according to reports in Spanish newspapers.
His parents were eating dinner with around 20 guests when the 15-year-old son of one of the holidaymakers raised the alarm after discovering the child in the water.
A doctor, who was among the party, tried to resuscitate the child before paramedics arrived.
They spent half an hour trying to save the boy but were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
There was nobody at the Golders Green home of the Orthodox Jewish family on Wednesday as family members prepared to fly Refoel’s body home.
A couple who were walking by the house on Wednesday with their own child in a buggy stopped to pay their respects.
The man, who asked not to be named, said: “It is just a terrible tragedy.
“So shocking and so sad.”
It is thought Refoel’s devastated parents have instructed Spanish lawyers and have successfully avoided a traditional post mortem examination from being carried out on religious grounds.
Instead Spanish pathologists carried out a non-invasive scan, meaning the body can be returned home more quickly in time for a Jewish burial.
Barnet Coroner’s Officer Mick Greenwood said an inquest into the death would be opened once the little boy’s body had arrived back in the UK.
He said: “As soon as the body arrives in our jurisdiction then the coroner will open an inquest and investigations will start.”
A Foreign Office spokesman said as the deceased was a minor, they would not be releasing any identity.
She said: “We can confirm the death of a British national in Spain on August 16.
“We are in contact with local authorities and have provided the family with advice on bereavement abroad, including on repatriation.”
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