Bridgeport, Ala. (WHNT)- Family and friends of drowning victim Bert Winston, told the Bridgeport City Council Monday night that Wintson was left at the bottom of the pool and the lifeguards went home.
Winston died Saturday afternoon during a picnic for the First Missionary Baptist Church. Church members say that kids saw Winston, 48, who could not swim, fall into the pool.
“There was a concern that Bert was in the deep end,” one woman, who did not identify herself, told council members. “And they (lifeguards) went under to look for him. Well of course you can’t see because the water is murky. “
Witnesses and the city agree the water was very dirty inside the pool Saturday. Church members say that when lifeguards didn’t locate Winston, the assumption was that Winston must have went home, even though all of his belongings were still nearby.
“And so when they shut the pool down, they should have done a search,” the woman went on to say. “And they did not do a search. In fact, they left and went home. And so one of our members had to jump the fence and that’s how he was found.”
Bridgeport Mayor David Hughes says he can’t comment on specifics of the case because the investigation is still ongoing. He did offer up his sympathy and prayers to the family of the victim. He also said the lifeguards are in need of prayers as well because they are very upset over the situation.
“Right now I’m the mayor, and if you want to blame, you can blame it on me,” Hughes said. “Because it all comes to me.”
Hughes says he doesn’t know how long the investigation will take. He says the pool will be closed for the rest of the summer and he hopes it never opens again.