Estate of the Victim vs. The ABC Country Club

This is a description of a fatal submersion incident that occurred on June 06, 2010 with two lifeguards on duty. Besides the lifeguards not being strategically positioned, they failed to recognize the incident. And, upon being notified of the incident, they failed to appropriately and effectively respond to the incident prior to the arrival of Fire EMS personnel.

Author: Gerald M. Dworkin
Date: December 03, 2013


On June 06, 2010, a private birthday party was being held at the ABC Country Club swimming pool by Mr. & Mrs. Thomas for their daughter’s 12th birthday. The party started at about 19:00 hrs. with approximately 35 children and several adults in attendance.

The pool was under the supervision of two Country Club lifeguards, Lifeguard 1 (Head Lifeguard) and Lifeguard 2 (Assistant Head Lifeguard). These lifeguards were employees of the Country Club and were assigned to work this party.

While the party was underway, and the children were in the pool, only one lifeguard at a time was responsible for providing patron surveillance. This lifeguard was positioned in the elevated lifeguard stand on the north side of the pool, facing the deep end, while the other lifeguard was in or around the shed, located on the opposite side of the pool (south).

Just prior to the incident being recognized, Lifeguard 1 had been positioned in the elevated lifeguard stand. Several minutes before the recognition of the incident, however, Lifeguard 2 relieved Lifeguard 1 on the elevated stand and Lifeguard 1 then returned to the area in or around the shed.

Prior to the recognition of this incident, there were approximately 30 kids in the pool with one lifeguard positioned in the elevated lifeguard stand. It was reported by several witnesses, as well as the lifeguards, there were numerous beach balls, flotation noodles, and rafts in the water.

It has not yet been determined whether or not water clarity was an issue. But, on June 02, 2010, the health department inspection report showed a turnover rate of 11.5 hours, instead of the required 8 hours. This same issue was also identified the previous year during the June 26, 2009 inspection. Water clarity can be seriously compromised by an inadequate turnover rate.

At approximately 19:30 hrs. Witness 1 noticed someone lying on the pool bottom, not moving. She then called another child, Witness 2, to investigate. When Witness 2 grabbed the Victim and brought him to the water’s surface, the other children started screaming for the lifeguards.

After being alerted to the incident by children screaming, Lifeguard 2 observed Witness 2 supporting the Victim in the shallow end of the pool. Lifeguard 2 then called for Lifeguard 1 who then entered the shallow end of the pool. Upon reaching Witness 2, Lifeguard 1 carried the Victim to the opposite side of the pool at which time he was then removed from the pool with the help of Mr. Thomas. Lifeguard 1 and Mr. Thomas then initiated CPR while Lifeguard 2 ran into the clubhouse to call 911.

At approximately 19:33 hrs. the 911 Operator received a call for a report of an unconscious child in the pool at the Country Club pool. The caller (Lifeguard 2) did not advise the operator she was one of the on-duty lifeguards, but did state there was an individual on scene who was administering CPR. The caller stated she did not see the child lose consciousness and when asked whether or not an AED was available, she responded there was not one available.

The Fire Department, along with the County Sheriff’s Department, were dispatched to the scene. Upon arrival of Fire Department personnel, the Victim was immediately transported to the Hospital with lifesaving procedures provided en-route to the hospital. Upon arrival to the hospital, lifesaving efforts were continued until he was pronounced deceased at 21:17 hrs.

Fire Department Timeline

19:33:16 Time of 911 call
19:37:16 Fire Department Arrival on scene
19:41:13 Enroute to hospital
19:45 Arrived at hospital

According to the Victim’s family, he was an excellent swimmer and had no pertinent previous medical history.

The following information was obtained by the Police during their investigation of this incident:

Lifeguard 1

• Head Lifeguard for the Country Club
• Had been employed by the club for 7 summers
• Certified as a Lifeguard through the American Red Cross
• Told the police that one lifeguard sits on the north side of the pool while the other sits in the shed on the southwest side of the pool
• Was in the shed when Lifeguard 2 yelled at her and said that someone was unconscious in the pool
• Looked over and saw a kid (Witness 2) holding the Victim in the water
• Immediately jumped into the pool and took the Victim from the child in the water
• Brought the Victim over to the north side of the pool and with the help of one of the parents, Mr. Thomas, got the Victim out of the pool
• Performed CPR with Mr. Thomas while Lifeguard 2 called 911.
• Administered chest compressions while Mr. Thomas was administering rescue breathing

Lifeguard 2

• Worked at the country club for 4 summers and held the position of Assistant Head Lifeguard
• Certified as a Lifeguard through the American Red Cross
• Had rotated onto the stand to relieve Lifeguard 1 at approximately 19:25 hrs.
• Several minutes later she heard someone yell, “lifeguard, lifeguard” and observed a child (Witness 2) supporting the Victim in the shallow end of the pool
• Yelled at Lifeguard 1 to get the Victim out of the water while she cleared everyone from the pool
• Then ran and called 911

Mr. Thomas

• Hosting a birthday party for his daughter at the country club pool
• About 19:30 hrs. heard a commotion in the pool and saw one of the lifeguards jump into the pool and grab the Victim from another child
• Noticed the Victim was unconscious so he went to help the lifeguard
• Pulled the Victim from the pool
• Performed CPR with Mary until Paramedics arrived.

Print Article