Fall River, Massachusetts If you’re planning on going swimming this 4th of July you might want to be careful what you’re bumping into. 2 days after a mother of 5 in Massachusetts drown she was finally pulled out of the pool. The whole time the pool was not only open to the public, but multiple health inspectors checking the safety of the pool failed to find the body as well as the lifeguards on duty! (Can we say epic fail?)
In a Fall River swimming pool Marie Joseph’s body went unnoticed for 2 days. She went swimming on Sunday, June 26th, with a group of friends including her 9-year-old neighbor. During the excursion the neighbor went down the water slide at the 12-foot deep water pool. Joseph followed him because she was chaperoning the slide.
“Marie unexpectedly slid down the slide, landing on top of him,” Fall River Police Chief Daniel Racine said Wednesday. “He further stated he believed Marie went under the water and did not surface.”
Making this story even more outrageous is what happened next. The boy went to the lifeguard and told him what had happened right afterwards and the lifeguard told the child he’d check the pool. That was around 2 pm on Sunday. (Obviously the lifeguard didn’t “check the pool.”)
Her friends, including the woman that drove her to the pool, Veronica Reis, 21, thought that she’d just walked home from the pool. Even though she never returned her boyfriends phone calls he thought she just wanted to be alone. (How about checking on her? Duh…)
6 lifeguards were on duty in the time period that Marie Joseph’s body floated in the cloudy water and none of them found her. The most unthinkable, outraging part of this story for me is that 2 health inspectors came on Monday to evaluate the pool and test its water. They didn’t find her and neither did the other health inspector that came on Tuesday. All they found was “cloudy water.”
It took 2 children that jumped the fence for a swim late Tuesday night to find her body floating in the pool. It’s not clear how many people saw her body in the pool between when she drowned and when she was found. (With the way lifeguards listen I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people were dismissed in this case.)
William Flanagan, mayor of Fall River, called Joseph’s death “tragic” and said he was demanding an investigation. (Although I don’t think that he had to “demand” anything.)
“It has come to my attention that health inspectors from the city visited the pool on Monday and Tuesday and inspected the facilities. I have immediately placed those inspectors on administrative leave,” he said. He added that the city plans to offer assistance to the state Department of Recreation and Conservation, which manages the pools and is conducting the investigation. Everyone who worked at the pool is also on administrative leave. (Thank God the inspectors and pool employees are at least on leave…I wonder if it’s paid leave though…)
Investigators are now watching surveillance tapes and doing interviews to see how this could possibly happen. (I think it has something to do with the lifeguard not listening to the little boy, the health inspectors not doing their jobs right, and her friends not looking for her.) The medical examiner has completed an autopsy finding that the woman did indeed drown Sunday and was at the bottom of the pool of the ENTIRE 2 days! The investigators are saying that the murky waters probably did conceal her body and added that a diver wasn’t visible after being at a depth of 3 1/3 to 4 feet under the surface of the water.
“The facts appear to indicate that a woman was in the water for a number of days and not noticed by staff, patrons or other inspections that may have taken place,” said State Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard Sullivan, whose department oversees state-run pools.
He also said he found the possibility disturbing and “a breakdown systematically somewhere.” (Gee, ya think?) They have reopened 11 of the 30 deep water pools in Massachusetts that have been closed until the investigation is done stating that the staff in those pools are well trained. Let’s hope that new regulations are put in place to keep this from happening again. Happy 4th of July everyone!