- Aug 19, 2003
- Reaction score
Body 'unseen in Massachusetts swimming pool for days'
Marie Joseph's friends thought she had simply left the pool
Authorities in the US state of Massachusetts are trying to find out how a body lay unnoticed in a swimming pool for more than two days as the public continued to use the facility.
Marie Joseph, 36, had used a slide at the Veterans Memorial Pool in Fall River on Sunday but failed to return to the surface.
A boy reportedly told staff but the body was only found when teenagers broke in for a clandestine night swim.
The pool was described as "cloudy".
Massachusetts has closed dozens of state-run swimming pools while investigations continue.
Two pool inspectors have been placed on administrative leave.
An autopsy on Ms Joseph's body has been completed but the results have not yet been published.
Health officials sought to allay public concern, saying the chlorine in the water would have offered protection.
State public health medical director Dr Lauren Smith said: "I want to reassure the public that, as disturbing as it is to you, there are no health risks associated with this."
State energy and environmental affairs secretary Richard Sullivan told Associated Press: "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."
He said there had been "a breakdown systematically somewhere".
But he said he believed that normal procedures of checking pools after closure had been taken.
"We undergo a procedure with each and every one of our pools. We believe all of those were in place here."
Ms Joseph, a native of Haiti, had five children.
She had reportedly entered the slide with a nine-year-old boy who noticed she had not resurfaced. The pool is at most 4m (12ft) deep.
One of Ms Joseph's friends said the boy had told a lifeguard but that no checks were done and her friends thought she had simply left the pool.
The body was found 58 hours later by a group of teenagers who jumped a locked fence at about 2200 on Tuesday.
One regular swimmer, Louie Cahill, told ABC: "The pool is 12ft deep. You cannot see anybody in the bottom of that pool."
A spokesman for the Bristol County district attorney, Gregg Miliote, told CNN that a decomposing body could take a couple of days before becoming buoyant.