Swimming pool pump accidents

Following the tragic Christmas Eve accident, I wondered how often this sort of thing happened and found this catalogue of horrors - https://www.thebluecap.com/site/en/accidents/accidents
Not just in Spain, but almost anywhere in the world, there could be a monster lurking at the bottom of the pool.
John Withall, it would be interesting to have your observations.

Not sure the pump was the issue with the tragedy in Spain Mike, none of the family could swim and the pool was freezing cold so shock would have played a part.

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Right, the circumstances of this accident are still unclear, but one report says that the girl’s swimming cap was found in the pump.
However, there is a pattern of accidents with pumps, as my link shows.
If it was freezing cold as you say, the pool should have been closed to the public. Costa del Sol air temperature is around 13°C today, so I wouldn’t want to swim in an unheated pool.

Hundreds of people die in swimming pools each year, so these pump related incidents seem to represent a tiny, tiny percentage. And generally seem to happen in (perhaps poorly maintained) commercial premises, which are often where all sorts of other accidents take place.

Sure people should be alert to potential risks, and pool operators should be tightly supervised. However although it is devastating for the individuals involved, you can’t protect all the people all of the time from every risk under the sun.

I think you are wrong about the numbers Jane. Hundreds of people do die from drowning every year, but very few in swimming pools. Most accidents occur in unsupervised open water. You are more likely to die on your way to the pool than swimming in it. But in a lifetime of swimming I never thought that a pool could be designed so that it could trap people below the surface. That is such an obvious mistake to make.

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Working through some of the posts;

The mother involved has said they could swim.

The pumping system on commercial pools is of a significant size and strength in order to move the water round in a sufficient capacity and both incoming and outgoing water is subject to more force than people allow for.

Agreed that accidents can happen. Long hair going through a grille is an accident. A pool with open drain without a grille is negligence on behalf of the pool operator.

Good point about the water temperature if it was unheated. Must see what the complex advertises.

Staying away from the drain etc should be part of the rules of the pool but then when we were young we would dive down to touch it or whatever as of course young people believe rules aren’t for them and they are indestructible!

I think there is little chance of the swimming cap ending up in the pump unless there was a piece of equipment missing but would need to see exactly what was there to know.

I will be looking to see what the outcome is.

Seems that nothing untoward has been found with the swimming pool… since it has been allowed to re-open for use… :zipper_mouth_face:

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The mother has now said they could all swim so it’s all very strange especially as the pool has re-opened so quickly. I do find it odd that there was no lifeguard on duty.

it is a normal reaction to dismiss an incident as an “unfortunate accident” and carry on regardless. If they have a solicitor who knows his job, that is exactly what he would have advised. Top priority would be to avoid a lengthy enquiry, closure of the facility and possible costly litigation.
It is unlikely that the local police would have the depth of technical knowledge to properly assess the condition of the pool equipment.


If/when Police have insufficient knowledge… they do have access to Experts… :zipper_mouth_face:

When people go abroad they somehow expect to find that the rules are the same as at home, but hotels and camping sites are often unsupervised. Parents are expected to take care of their own children.
So it is mostly foreigners who get into trouble, lacking local knowledge and not having the language skills to read warning notices, or even not knowing how to call for help.

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A fail-safe system for swimming pools can’t be so difficult to design in these days when you can’t even open the door of a washing machine while it is running!

Have you seen “Jaws”?

Mike… my reply was in answer to your words …

The pool is one of the smallest of the 21 pools on the site… and I have no reason to believe that the Spanish Police would not carry out a thorough investigation, calling for experts if necessary . :zipper_mouth_face:

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I’ve just read about this in The Guardian - https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/27/britons-who-drowned-on-costa-del-sol-could-not-swim-police-say - and am really non the wiser.
It seems the whole family of 5 was present and witnessed it all, that the 3 that died could all swim, that the survivors think there was a problem with the pool (intermittent electrical fault?) but even after hearing their description of what exactly went on, and their suspicions about the pool, the police could find nothing wrong with it.

Tragic as it is, the mother will surely looking for scapegoat - someone to blame - when the reality simply is it was a tragic accident and perhaps no-one was to blame (in a legal sense).
If I read it correctly, it’s an anglo-american mix family and the “someone is to blame so we should claim” mentality kicks in…


Perhaps, after an autopsy there will be more information available for the family… and the authorities.

I think she just needs an explanation. It is almost unheard of that three people drown in a swimming pool at the same time.


Good point. Injuries caused by pump accidents are unusual and easily identified.

There is a whole range of “possibilities” which the autopsy should identify or disprove… :thinking: