1. #1
    Forum Member
    cheffie's Avatar
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    Nov 2009
    west coast USA

    Default Girl's death in spa preventable

    This is from the Sydney Morning Herald. I can't figure out how the suction could be that strong that she could have been sucked down to the drain and could not be pulled off by the men who were trying to rescue her. This is so tragic and sad.

    Girl's death in spa preventable: coroner

    February 16, 2010 .

    Main filter drains should be banned from the floor of spa pools, says a coroner who found a girl's tragic drowning death was "avoidable".

    Shannon Rankin, 11, drowned after becoming stuck to the drain at the bottom of a spa at the Sevan Apartments in Forster on the NSW mid-north coast on March 25, 2006.

    Three adults, who valiantly tried to pull her free, failed as the popular, experienced swimmer was held down by 350kg of pressure.

    "Shannon's death was a tragedy for her family and friends," said Deputy State Coroner Paul MacMahon at Glebe Coroners Court on Tuesday.

    "The tragedy of her death was magnified by the fact that her death was avoidable."

    Shannon became trapped because of the significant pressure that resulted from a blockage in the main drains, the coroner said.

    A blockage was found in the vertical pipe below the main drain of the spa pool at the complex, which had opened in December 2005.

    It included sand, dirt and cement used by building contractors during the pebble-creting of the wall and floor of the spa pool.

    Mr MacMahon said there was no credible evidence to suggest any person or persons had actual knowledge of the danger that existed in the spa.

    But he said Pebble Pave Pool Interiors Pty Ltd contributed to the circumstances that led to Shannon's death by failing to prevent waste material entering the main drain where it solidified.

    Such a danger was recognised in the industry and there were known systems available to prevent them.

    Actions or inaction by A1 Pools & Spas, the company responsible for the spa's design and construction, also contributed to Shannon's death, the coroner said.

    "The design decision that located the main drain in the floor of the spa was a decision that contributed to Shannon's death," Mr MacMahon said.

    He noted it was more common to locate the outlets through which water is sucked into the filter in the spa wall.

    He recommended the NSW government take action to ban installing the drain in the floor of spa pools in future constructions.

    The public also should be informed of the potential dangers associated with existing floor drains.

    Further, an independent expert should certify that pools and spas are compliant with statutory requirements before they can be used.

    Shannon's distraught parents, David and Donna Rankin, later told journalists they feared more pool and spa drownings would occur unless there was an industry overhaul.

    Mr Rankin said he was particularly concerned about the possible dangers of existing spas and how owners were oblivious to their dangers.

    "We trust this coronial inquest will ensure that this particular tragedy can never happen to another child, and another family does not have to endure the lifetime of loss and pain," he said.

    "It's critical that the pool and spa industry takes the lead in implementing change to eliminate safety shortfalls, and that new processes are underpinned by legislation."

    Mrs Rankin described their daughter as "beautiful inside and out", with a quirky sense of humour, saying she was gentle and "had a wise old soul".

    NSW Premier Kristina Keneally said the government would review the report.

    © 2010 AAP

  2. #2
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    Jan 2006


    It wasn't too long ago that there was a case where a girl was disemboweled by a drain like that as I recall.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

  3. #3

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    Jan 2008


    If they just put a cage around the drain the problem is solved. Something in the shape of a hemisphere with opening small enough that nothing can get near the drain.

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    Nov 2008


    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusKspn View Post
    It wasn't too long ago that there was a case where a girl was disemboweled by a drain like that as I recall.
    Yes, and it was her death that led to the creation of a law in the US that requires special drain covers to prevent this.

    There is even special systems that will shut off the pool pumps if the intake becomes clogged.

    Here is the article:


    Last edited by WD6956; 02-17-2010 at 11:32 PM.

  5. #5
    Back In Black
    ChiefKN's Avatar
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    Feb 2003
    The Nice Part of New Jersey


    Tragic stories.

    I remember the TODAY show running this piece. Be careful with public pools, many failed to comply.


    Illegal Pool Drain Covers Still Being Used in Public Pools Across the U.S.
    'Today Show' Investigates Pool Safety Act Compliance 6 Months After Deadline

    An investigative report by NBC News that aired on The Today Show July 6 revealed that the majority of public swimming pools and spas throughout the United States have not complied with The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act. The report comes six months after the deadline in which all public pools were federally mandated to have anti-entrapment drain covers in place.
    In an interview with NBC News Senior Investigative Correspondent Lisa Myers, new U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Chairman Inez Tenenbaum stated that all public pools and spas not in compliance with the safety act should not be open.

    Tenenbaum said that she and the CPSC are prepared to tell the state attorneys general that "...compliance is mandatory. There was no grace period. They have to comply with this law now."

    Among the report's findings:

    •The older drain covers are still being used in thousands of public pools across the U.S.
    •Pool drains can pack up to 800 pounds of suctional force. If a child gets too close to a drain with a non-compliant cover, his/her hair can become entangled and limbs or other body parts can quickly get sucked in.
    •Of the 14 public pools inspected in four states, the investigative team found that half were not in compliance.
    •Health departments throughout the U.S. reported similar findings. In Denver and Indianapolis, approximately 50% of public pools inspected still use the illegal drain covers.
    •In some counties in pool-populated Florida, 70% were non-compliant with the safety act.
    •In Los Angeles County, about 90% of public pools inspected did not have anti-entrapment drain covers.
    •While the CPSC is the federal agency that enforces the law, it doesn't have the resources to conduct inspections of public pools across the U.S.
    •While state and local officials should be inspecting public pools and spas in their jurisdictions, many told the investigative team that they don't have the power to enforce the requirement because it's a federal law.
    •Some cities have made an effort to comply with the law. "Here in DC, all municipal pools have been converted to new safer drains," said Myers, reporting from the nation's capitol.
    The VGB Act, which was passed by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush on December 19, 2007, mandated that all public pools and spas must be retrofitted with an approved anti-entrapment drain cover by December 19, 2008. Publics pools and spas include municipal pools, and those at hotels, resorts, country clubs, etc.

    Nancy Baker, mother of the late Virginia Graeme Baker, for whom the safety act is named, is worried: "If they don't do it (comply), it will happen (another drain entrapment death). It's just a matter of where it will happen again."
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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