Articles Tagged with “Drowning Accident”

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Last week, two year-old twin sisters Harmony and Harmani West tragically drowned in the swimming pool of their apartment complex, Tivoli Park, in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Since the incident, while the parents are attempted to cope with their brutal and unfair loss, residents and neighbors have clearly and unequivocally placed the blame on the management company for the family’s loss.

“The doors don’t lock.” Residents said in no uncertain terms that the door and gate to the pool is always open. Lou Pena, a fellow resident at Tivoli Park told police and news reporters that the pool door “never locks. Anyone can go in whenever they want I don’t blame a little child for wandering in it was going to happen sooner or later.”

As discussed last week in our first entry on this tragedy, Florida Law imposes that residential swimming pools be fenced in. At the time of passage of the new law, drowning was the leading cause of death of young children in the state of Florida. The Legislature received testimony of experts throughout the legislative process confirming that constant adult supervision is the key to accomplishing the objective of reducing the number of submersion incidents, and that when lapses in supervision occur a pool safety feature designed to deny, delay, or detect unsupervised entry to the swimming pool will reduce drowning incidents.

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Harmani and Harmony West were just 2 years old, yesterday in Deerfield Beach, they drowned in the pool of the apartment complex in which they lived with their mother. The apartment complex, Tivoli Park, has 6 pools and spas according to their website, all of which are gated with a locked door to prevent these exact incidents to occur. Witnesses did tell authorities that the lock on the pool in which the two small children drowned was broken and did not prevent the toddlers to gain access to the water.

3.jpgAccording to the responding officers, a couple visiting from North Carolina who was staying at Tivoli Park noticed a girl floating in the pool as the man made its way to the hot tub. He jumped in the pool and dragged the girl’s body out of the pool as quickly as he could. The woman then noticed a second body. The couple called 911 and efforts to resuscitate were undertaken aggressively performed by CPR. One of the girl was taken to Broward Health Medical Center by ambulance, the other by air, but later that night, both girls were pronounced dead at the hospital.

The early investigation of the officers has shown that somehow the twin girls had somehow been able to exit their apartment and walked to the pool area. The pool was gated, but the lock on the gate was broken and the girls ended up in the pool.

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Disney Century Pop Resort.jpgLast Sunday, 13-year-old Anthony Johnson was rescued by his family from drowning in a Disney Resort pool near Orlando, Florida. Yesterday, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office announced that Anthony had not survived and had been pronounced dead two days later.

Anthony, from Springfield, Missouri, was spending spring break vacation with his family in Central Florida. On Sunday evening, Anthony and friends were playing in the pool of Disney’s Pop Century Resort. Moments later, Anthony was found by his cousin at the bottom of the pool, in just 4 feet of water. Anthony’s father performed CPR until paramedics arrived on scene and took over the resuscitation efforts.

It is unclear at this time what may have cause Anthony to drown. Local news ABC15 reported that there were no lifeguards on duty at the time of the incident and signs “swim at your own risk” were posted. The Sheriff’s office investigation has just begun and could reveal some important elements of answers to explain the family who just lost their young son what may have caused him to drown.

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A property owner, such as a Hotel or Resort, has the duty to keep and maintain its premises in a reasonably safe condition to provide for its guests’ safety and prevent any potential incidents. When dangerous conditions are known by the property owner or its employees, the owner must warn its guests of the hazardous condition so as to prevent any risk of injury. The property owner must also remedy, and repair the dangerous condition as soon as possible. When a property owner creates or fails to remedy a dangerous condition, and a guest is injured as a result of the owner’s failure to warn, it can be held responsible for the injuries sustained.

Aljuwon Pipkin, a 14-year-old boy, was a guest at a Hotel Resort in Orlando, Osceola County, with his family. One late afternoon, while playing with his brother in the jacuzzi/spa located on the Hotel’s property, one of the suction grates broke and Aljuwon’s body was pulled under water by the force of the suction drain. Aljuwon’s brother, who was also playing in the jacuzzi, tried to pull his brother, but Aljuwon’s body wouldn’t move. He began yelling for help. Aljuwon’s mother heard her son screaming, as did Aljuwon’s stepfather. They were only seconds from the spa and they both leaped into the water and tried to pull Aljuwon free, to no avail. The mother began screaming as she felt her son jerking in her arms, then her son’s body going limp.

For long minutes, guests and hotel employees attempted to pull Aljuwon free, but the force of the suction was too strong. Others were looking for the jacuzzi’s emergency shut-off switch, but none existed. A guest who witnessed the entire incident asked hotel employees to shut off the suction drain, but they did not know where the switch was. It turned out that the one person in charge of maintaining the spa was already gone for the day and nobody on the premises knew how to operate and turn off the jacuzzi.

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At that point, the 14-year-old had been under water for more than ten minutes. That is when a fellow guest began ripping cables connected to the spa, which ultimately caused the suction to stop and allowed Aljuwon’s body to be freed. Paramedics worked on Aljuwon’s body immediately, administering emergency care and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to the unresponsive minor child. After several minutes of incessant efforts, Aljuwon was miraculously brought back to life.

Personal Injury Lawyers at Leesfield Scolaro sued the Hotel for its negligence in failing to maintain and/or replace the defective grate of the jacuzzi spa which broke when Aljuwon was using the spa. Ira Leesfield alleged that the Resort was responsible for not having installed an emergency shut-off switch which would have allowed Aljuwon to be freed within seconds, not ten minutes too late. Personal Injury Lawyer Carol Finklehoffe alleged that the hotel was also responsible for negligent training of the hotel’s employees who simply did not know how to shut off the jacuzzi’s drainage system.

As a result of the Hotel’s negligence, Aljuwon sustained brain damage requiring life-long medical care. On August 25th, 2011, the Orlando Personal Injury Attorneys at Leesfield Scolaro, Ira Leesfield and Carol Finklehoffe, on behalf of Aljuwon Pipkin and his mother, who witnessed the near drowning incident, settled this brain damage claim for a confidential amount with the Hotel Resort Defendant. It is the largest result in a pool entrapment case in Osceola County.
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