Drowning due to a pump failure – Really?

Unfortunately, it does. A water pump failure in a Rayleigh, NC community swimming pool caused the drowning death of a teenager.  The pool water was electrified after a water pump failed and a corroded conductor carried electricity to the pool water instead of taking it to a circuit breaker. Sounds simple, but sadly a teenager paid the price.

This loss of a young life could have been prevented, only if there were stronger regulations around electrical maintenance and inspection. Should there have been an inspection, the corroded conductor would have been spotted before the tragic incident and not after the county sheriff’s office requested an investigation. 17-year-old Rachel Rosoff would still be alive and her family and friends would not be mourning her death now.

The swimming pool, where the tragic incident happened, was built in 1979 and passed the electric inspection then with no requirement for future electrical inspection. Wake County, where this pool is, does not require regular electric inspection unless a permit for major renovation is requested. This pool has been operating since 1979 (37 years) without an electric inspection after the initial one – something to seriously think about. Request for a permit or not, electric inspections should be mandated for the swimming pools, just like safety and emission inspections for the cars.

This incident should serve notice to: the legislators to enact stringent regulations; the swimming pool owners should voluntarily conform to the latest electric codes; swimming pool users should check with the pool owner or management about the currency of the electric maintenance and inspection of the pool.

Drowning due to electrocution is completely preventable. The number of drowning deaths due to electrocution in the swimming pools may be small, but that is still too many.

The report from the Wake County Inspection Administrator can be found here.

– Meghna Sil

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