Estate of Olivia Linder

12-year-old swim team member drowns in YMCA guarded pool.

Author: Gerald M. Dworkin
Date: July 19, 2012


On October 06, 2010, 12-year-old Olivia G. Linder was swimming at the YMCA indoor swimming pool. Olivia was considered to be a good swimmer and was a member of the swim team.

There was one lifeguard on duty, Jean Wahl, who is also the YMCA’s Aquatics Director. There were also several swim coaches present, including Lauren Jones and Michael Jones. According to the YMCA’s website, Jean Wahl is also listed as one of the Assistant Coaches.

A video surveillance system was in place at the Y, that captured the events preceding Olivia’s submersion, as well as the events that followed, including the reaction of the lifeguard once she was notified of the emergency; Olivia’s rescue and placement on the pool deck; resuscitation efforts by YMCA staff and/or volunteers; and resuscitation efforts by First Responders and EMS personnel.

The surveillance video shows Aquatics Director Wahl sitting in an elevated lifeguard stand with swim coach Lauren Jones standing to the immediate left side of the lifeguard stand. Wahl and Jones are seen continuously talking to each other as Olivia swims into the side wall of the pool and instantly submerges to the pool bottom in approximately 10’ of water.

Olivia’s distress goes unrecognized by Wahl, Jones, or any of the other coaching staff until Wahl is alerted to the emergency and climbs out of the elevated lifeguard stand, 52 seconds later. Wahl then stands on the pool deck to assess Olivia lying on the pool bottom and finally enters the water 21 seconds later.

Wahl brings Olivia to the surface and places Olivia face down on the pool deck 39 seconds after rescuing her from the pool bottom. 11 seconds later, Olivia is placed into a supine position (on her back) as she then falls back into the water. 40 seconds later, Olivia is placed in a recovery position (on her side) on the pool deck, and 10 seconds later, she is again placed into a supine position. Wahl finally administers the first rescue breath via mouth-to-mouth 9 seconds later. The first rescue breath was administered 2 minutes and 41 seconds after Olivia submerged.

Shortly after the administration of the first rescue breath by Wahl, with Olivia in a recovery, rather than a supine position, an oxygen administration unit was brought to the scene by Pat Richardson. However, it appears the oxygen regulator was not connected, and Richardson is seen attempting to connect the regulator, and oxygen is therefore, not administered.

60 seconds later, Olivia is finally repositioned onto the back and the first chest compressions are administered. The first chest compressions are administered 4 ½ minutes after Olivia’s submersion, and almost 3 minutes after Olivia was pulled from the pool bottom.

However, chest compressions are only administered for approximately 15 seconds at which time the rescuer stops compressions in an attempt to continue hooking up the oxygen equipment. That rescuer then starts chest compressions again, but stops approximately 30 seconds later in an attempt to fix the oxygen equipment. Compressions are then started and then stopped continuously until First Responders arrive on the scene and take over resuscitation efforts. Effective chest compressions, positive pressure ventilation, oxygen administration, and the use of an AED are not administered until five minutes after Olivia was pulled from the pool bottom.

Prior to the arrival of First Responders, Lauren Jones had retrieved the facility’s AED and brought it to the scene. However, the electrodes were not attached and the AED was not utilized until Louisville Police arrived on the scene.

According to the Louisville Fire Department EMS Report, upon their arrival, CPR was in progress and Olivia had been shocked twice with the AED. Advanced Life Support efforts were initiated by EMS personnel, and continued en-route to Aultman Hospital. Olivia was pronounced deceased at the hospital.

According to Jean Wahl’s statement, “she was only in pool no more than 30 seconds”. However, based on my analysis of the security video, Olivia had been submerged for almost 1 ½ minutes before Wahl even entered the water to effect a rescue.

Review of Video Surveillance Tape

16:40 Aquatics Director Wahl and Swim Coach Lauren Jones talking to one another while Wahl is in lifeguard stand and supposedly surveying the pool and safeguarding patrons.

16:47:56 Olivia Linder swims into view near the bottom left corner of the video.

16:48:00 Olivia swims back toward side of pool. Swim coach is blocking view of Wahl as she is standing between Wahl and Olivia.

16:48:13 Olivia is out of view and under water.

16:48:23 Olivia is fully submerged. Coach Jones and Aquatics Director Wahl still talking.

16:48:52 Aquatics Director Wahl is alerted to Olivia’s distress by a bystander.

16:49:13 Aquatics Director Wahl enters water, almost on top of Olivia.

16:49:21 Aquatics Director Wahl recovers Olivia and brings her to the surface.

16:49:37 Aquatics Director Wahl brings Olivia to the side of the pool.

16:50:02 Olivia’s upper body is pulled from pool with assistance of Coach Jones.

16:50:40 Olivia’s lower body falls back into the pool.

16:50:49 Male coach assists in the removal of Olivia from the pool.

16:51:06 Pat Richardson arrives at incident scene with small oxygen tank and makes numerous attempts to connect the regulator to the tank.

16:51:10 Aquatics Director Wahl initiates rescue breathing.

16:52:09 Chest compressions are initiated by Pat Richardson

16:52:27 Richardson stops compressions and again attempts to set up oxygen administration equipment.

16:52:31 Chest compressions re-started by Richardson as Aquatics Director Wahl provides intermittent rescue breaths.

16:54:40 First emergency responders on scene. Rescue efforts taken over by local EMS, Fire and Police. Appropriate chest compressions, AED, positive pressure ventilation, and oxygen administration finally administered.

911 Call

17:04 hrs. 911 call made by someone without knowledge of the incident or status of the patient.

17:05 hrs. Engine 12 and Medic 25 dispatched.

17:06 hrs. Medic 25 en-route.

17:08 hrs. Medic 25 on-scene.

17:09 hrs. Medic 25 confirms code.

17:11 hrs. Engine 12 en-route.

17:13 hrs. Engine 12 on-scene and instructed to stage outside Y.

17:18 hrs. Medic 25 en-route to hospital.

Print Article