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How Does a Woman Die in a Public Pool and No One Notices for Two Days?

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July 1, 2011

Massachusetts authorities are investigating how a woman died in a public pool yet her body went undetected in the pool by lifeguards, swimmers and a health inspector for two days, according to the Associated Press.

Marie Joseph, 36, and friends went to the Veterans Memorial Swimming Pool in Fall River on Sunday, June 26. When she slid down a slide then failed to get out of the pool that afternoon, her friend says she notified the lifeguard.

“The lifeguard said he was going to do a pool check,” Marie’s friend Veronica Reis told AP. “They never did that. They never did anything.”

Ms. Joseph’s friends thought she must have left the pool.

Ms. Joseph died in that pool on Sunday while swimmers were in the pool and lifeguards on duty.

On Monday and Tuesday, the pool opened and swimmers swam in the pool, with lifeguards on duty, and no one saw Ms. Joseph’s body in the pool.

A health inspector inspected the pool for permitting on Tuesday and did not notice Ms. Joseph’s body.

At about 10:00 pm on the evening of Tuesday, June 28, young people intending to swim in the pool after hours climed the chain link fence, where they found Ms. Joseph floating dead in the pool and notified authorities.

The Boston Herald reports the timeline of required pool inspection and permitting as:

1) The pool opened on Saturday, June 25 without the required municipal health permit.

2) On Monday, June 27, a Fall River health inspector drives by and realizes the pool is open without the proper permit.

3) A health inspector visits the pool on Tuesday, June 28, performs the pool inspection and notes the pool is cloudy, then returns to his office and approves the permit.

Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation operates Veterans Memorial Swimming Pool, which has a deep end of twelve feet. In response to the incident, the state closed 24 of the state’s deep-water pools while the incident is under investigation.

“What is very important for the public to understand, though it might be hard to believe, is that swimming in the pool, with normal chlorine levels, there would be no health risks,” state Department of Public Health Medical Director Dr. Lauren told The Herald News.


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  1. kathleen mcquary brazzel says:
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    while this is certainly a tragedy- seems like several people dropped the ball- first im not assuming ms joseph could nt swim but if not- obviously mistake number 1 – i live in louisiana and the majority of the people that drown in our state cannot swim – or anyone with them cannot either… nor do they have any floatation device or life jacket! you have no business near the water!!i also think it strange her friends or family didnt look for her in the pool? just how murky was this water? a little cloudy? then when ms joseph didnt come home that night or the next morning? HELLO?This is by far sad, but so very bizarre.