A 64-year-old man died in hospital after being found unresponsive at Canada Games Pool by pool staff on Wednesday evening.
According to a press release from the city, the man was found unresponsive at the pool at about 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 2. Lifeguards on duty immediately removed the man from the pool, called 911 and initiated CPR until first responders arrived.
“He was about midway down the pool. He stopped moving in the water and was at the surface of the pool,” said Steve Kellock, the city’s senior manager of recreation services and facilities. “When staff noticed that he was unresponsive they went in and performed a rescue.”
Members of the public were cleared from the facility, which was closed for the remainder of the day. First responders performed CPR and took the man to hospital, where he later died.
“It was a very quick response, within a couple of minutes,” Kellock said of first responders’ arrival at the scene.
Kellock said the city extends its condolences to the family and friends of the man.
“Nothing like this is common per se, but the staff are highly trained to deal with the most unfortunate circumstances. They go through extensive training, both leading up to their employment. Once they are employed with us we also have ongoing training to make sure they know how to handle and address worst-case scenarios,” Kellock told the Record. “We hope that worst-case scenarios like this don’t occur, but as we saw yesterday they can occur.”
Following the incident, the city offered a critical incident stress debrief with Canada Games Pool staff who were involved and provided rides home. All staff involved in the incident, including aquatic staff, maintenance staff and front desk staff who often help manage evacuating the facility, were included in the critical incident stress debriefing.
“Everybody handles situations differently, which is why we make sure we have an intentional debrief session with them,” Kellock said. “We are actually going to make sure we also support them beyond the debriefing at the time of the event. We will bring the staff group back together, and we have a company that we work with that provides an employee and family assistance program for us. They will support us with a further debrief and will make counselling available to anybody who needs it.”
At the time of the incident, 12 staff were on duty at the pool, which was open for a public swim and was being used for a Hyack Swim Club practice. About 110 people were in the pool and 90 in the fitness area at the time of the incident.
The man was a casual user of the facility, not a regular patron.
The city will conduct a full review of its protocols, which is routine following any incident in its facilities.
“We are always proactive whenever there is any kind of an accident or an incident – we make sure that we look at our existing procedures, look at the event and see if there are any takeaways that we can learn from it,” Kellock said. “We will make sure we do the same in this situation.”
Canada Games Pool is open today with regular hours.