The death of 32-year-old Vijayarengan Srinivasan at Wild Waves on Saturday was determined by the King County Medical Examiner’s Office to have been an accidental drowning.
But investigators from Public Health of Seattle & King County and the Washington State Department of Health were at the Federal Way water park all day Tuesday, trying to determine whether anything contributed to the death of the man who had only recently come to the United States from India.
The clarity of the water at the time of Srinivasan’s death is one area of focus. Follow this link to see the form public health workers use when they do a swimming pool inspection.
When Chopper 7 flew over Wild Waves midday Tuesday, the water throughout the park was crystal clear.
According to Federal Way police reports, however, about 20 minutes before Srinivasan’s body was discovered near the Bottoms Cannon water slide, one of the lifeguards told police she “saw an image that looked like a person.” When that same lifeguard blew her rescue whistle and jumped into the water to investigate, she “could not see anything due to the water being murky,” she told officers.
The checklist used by public health investigators indicates that water clarity is one of the conditions that’s examined in these situations. If a pool bottom is not visible, per the checklist, the pool should be closed immediately as a critical health and safety violation.
According to the police report, while two lifeguards insisted they didn’t see anything unusual Saturday, another lifeguard told a group of concerned children that what they saw on the bottom of the pool wasn’t a body as they insisted but “paint scrapes at the bottom that appear to be blobs.”
KIRO 7 spoke with one of those concerned children, a 12-year old girl named Angel who said, “I told him and he said, 'We’re already checking it, and it’s just the paint,'” Angel recalled. “I said, 'No, I saw his legs,' and he said, 'I’ll go check in 10 or 20 minutes.'”
In addition to water clarity, Public Health spokeswoman Hilary Karasz said investigators will also ask about park capacity. A Federal Way police officer who responded to the park on Saturday estimated the size of the crowd at 8,500, according to a police report.
A spokeswoman for Wild Waves didn’t respond to an email on Tuesday asking about capacity regulations.
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