Accusation: Drowning victim left at bottom of deep end, lifeguards went home

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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.


  • Jim

    Ok, the mayor says the pool is closed for the rest of the year and he hopes it does not open again? Ok, I understand you really had a major breakdown in accountability by the staff of the facility. 1. The pool being that cloudy is unaccepatable in the first place. Why would the pool be allowed to remain open when it is that cloudy. The person who allowed that to happen should be disciplined in the least. 2. You have an individual fall in and life guards search for them and they give up the search saying well I guess they must of gone home when the persons personal belongings were still there.. Did someone think well, lets contact the guys relatives or church officials to determine if he was safe.. It really sounds like there was a major malfunction at that pool that day for sure..
    However drownings do occur at facilities, but to throw you hands up and just close the facility down sounds like giving up to me. Its one thing if this facility is having major problems like this all the time or is just to old to operate. I just cant see the mayors attitude about closing it down forever due to this incident. Worse case scenario, clean house at the pool and hire new people to work there.
    Get new procedures in place that people will follow when events such as this transpires so that something like this will not happen again..

  • Diane

    Sounds like to me that the lifeguards was too worried about going home instead of making sure that a person was safe. If all his belongings were still there, then that means that he did not just go home!!! It’s very sad that a man lost his life because they were not very concerned about his well being. Sad Sad Sad

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