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Wrongful death claim filed against resort after pool drain death

Our previous post discussed a recall of pool drain covers that could potentially affect a number of public pools and spas in Southern Florida. The recall was announced in order to prevent any more injuries or deaths; swimmers were getting trapped under water by the strong suction coming from the drains.

But what happens when there is a fatal accident in a pool? The family of a man is suing the Nassau Sandals hotel chain as well as manufacturers and distributors of an inground spa for wrongful death. The man died after being trapped underwater against the spa drain.

The civil lawsuit blames Sandals for negligence, false imprisonment and emotional distress. It also alleges that the spa and drain makers and counterparts failed to produce, supply and construct a safe spa. Although Sandals is a Jamaica-based resort chain, the suit is being brought in Florida where Sandals does business.

Legal documents say the man died despite immediate help from his fiancee and guests, who could not pull the man away from the drain suction for several minutes. Medical help failed to arrive for nearly an hour, during which time the guests tried to resuscitate the man. He died in a hospital the next day.

The resort staff reportedly walked away after pleas for help and tried to confine the victim's fiancee to her room with a security guard. The complaint said the hotel even implied that the fatal accident was the man and woman's fault.

Defendants in the suit also include the U.S. producers, suppliers and distributors of the spa who may be held liable for the spa's unsafe conditions. The suit alleges the drain was improperly covered, had no entrapment protection and no accessible shut-off switch. It alleges the spa makers and distributors were negligent, sold a defective product and failed to warn Sandals of the danger.

Source: Pool & Spa News online, "Sandals Resorts Sued for Entrapment," Rebecca Robledo, 27 May 2011

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