FALL RIVER (CBS) — It’s a mystery as murky as the water at Veteran’s Memorial swimming pool in Fall River public pool: how did swimmers, lifeguards, or inspectors not notice a woman’s body at the bottom of the pool for a few days?
Marie Joseph, 36, was last seen at the pool on Sunday. The pool was open to the public Monday and Tuesday with six lifeguards on duty, and no one noticed the body under 12 feet of water.
On Thursday, Fall River’s mayor revealed “that health inspectors from the City visited the pool on Monday and on Tuesday and inspected the facilities,” which was during the time that Joseph’s body was believed to be in the water.
Joseph’s body was finally found Tuesday night when some kids broke into the pool area.
WBZ-TV’s Christina Hager reports.
State regulations say the water at public pools has to be checked for calrity and bacteria every hour, but the water at the Fall River pool was so cloudy, no one saw the body.
“The only thing of note in the inspection report is that the inspector did indicate that the pool water was cloudy,” said Mayor William Flanagan of Fall River.
The director of the American Lifeguard Association told WBZ-TV that you should be able to see the main drain cover in the deep end. But on Wednesday, the drain cover could not be seen on SkyEye aerial shots of the pool.
The mayor said Thursday that those city inspectors who visited the pool have been placed on administrative leave. The entire pool staff has also been placed on leave by the state.
Investigators have said that on Sunday, 36-year-old Joseph went down a slide with a 9-year-old boy and was never seen again.
“We’re not certain about anything other than the fact that we have a death and that this person was at the pool, and what took place with respect to the slide. Everything beyond that is absolutely under investigation,” said Samuel Sutter, the Bristol District Attorney.
“The pool’s always packed, somebody should have come by and ended up seeing something,” said one neighbor.
Officials did note that after testing, they are certain that swimmers who used the pool Monday or Tuesday do not face any health risks.
In the meantime, police and state officials have closed down all 30 of its deep-water, public swimming pools as officials try to figure out what happened.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mark Katic reports.
“It’s just hard to absorb,” said Gov. Deval Patrick. “We don’t have the facts yet and we will get them through the DA and our own investigation.”
State officials said they hope to re-open most state pools, with the exception of the one in Fall River, by Friday in anticipation of the long holiday weekend.