CREATED Jun. 28, 2013
MARANA, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - What happened that day at a Marana pool, where an eight year old nearly drowned? Some parents say one thing about the lifeguards on duty. The town says another. How can there be such a discrepancy? Just where did Marana gets its information? Have parents spoken up? KGUN9 looks further into the near-death experience of one young boy.
“I'm shocked,” Harris said Thursday. “I think if you asked any parent there to read that report they would be shocked as well.”
Harris was at the pool party and participated in the recovery of the boy.
Here’s one example of a point of contention: the town’s report stated a lifeguard followed procedure and "performed two rescue breaths" on the boy, who’d been pulled from the bottom of the pool.
Harris said that never happened. She said lifeguards simply stood by in shock, minimally assisting parents. Others agree.
Another adult wrote in a statement to the police that the lead lifeguard "looked dazed and confused."
But the town's reported stated, at one point, "adults attempted to direct and interfere with the lifeguards' rescue activities."
"Saying that they were 'interfering,' that's heartbreaking," Harris said, "because we did the best we could."
So, where did the report’s author, Parks and Recreation Director Tom Ellis, get his information from?
“It sounds like they just interviewed the lifeguards,” Harris said.
KGUN9 Reporter Kevin Keen asked Marana spokesman Rodney Campbell, “How do respond to that kind of account or criticism?”
“We don't agree,” he replied. “We say the report is fair and accurate and thorough.”
Campbell said Ellis talked to lifeguards, paramedics, police and witnesses. He said those witness accounts came from conversations at a recent town council meeting as well as from the police report on the incident.
Campbell said those accounts were included in the report, giving as an example one reported “observation”: "There was a perception from some of the parents at the pool that the lifeguards were unsure of the task of each team member once the EAP (rescue) was under way."
As a result, the report stated, lifeguards will now have daily briefings.
But Harris still said the investigation wasn't done right.
“I don't think that they did a thorough job interviewing people because we were never contacted,” she said.
Campbell said it's not reasonable to think Ellis could’ve talked to the dozens of people there that day. He said anyone wishing to share their account can call the parks and recreation department at 520-382-1950 to set up a time.
How can the groups have such varying accounts?
“I guess the only thing I can say is that different people have different perspectives on the way things happened,” Campbell offered.
The incident's lead to changes
at the pool and the town, which leaves Harris hopeful.