Federal Way Police Department

A 32-year-old man who drowned at a Washington water park might have been under water as long as 15 minutes before lifeguards spotted him

August 23, 2016 12:00 PM

A 32-year-old man who drowned at a Washington water park might have been under water as long as 15 minutes before lifeguards spotted him in a 10- to 12-foot pool, according to a police report obtained by PEOPLE.

Vijayarengan Srinivasan died Saturday at the Wild Waves Water Park in Federal Way, Washington, about 13 miles from Tacoma, of asphyxia due to drowning, according to the King County Medical Examiner’s office.

Srinivasan had moved to the United States to work as a programmer at IT services company Infosys only about 2 weeks ago from India, where his wife and 3-year-old child still live, his friend, Kesava Duraipandian, 32, of Bellevue, Washington, told Federal Way police.

His accidental drowning comes just three weeks after Caleb Schwab, 10, died on a Kansas water park ride, and follows a spate of other amusement park mishaps in recent weeks.

Srinivasan told his friend he was not a good swimmer, so instead of jumping off a rock platform into a 10- to 12-foot pool, he planned to go down the adjacent water slide because “kids were doing it and they were okay,” Duraipandian recounted to police. (Srinivasan was staying with Duraipandian until he got settled in Washington.)

Duraipanidan “suspects that [Srinivasin] might have gone on the water slide not knowing the water depth was the same as the rock jump,” according to the report. That area, known as the “Activity Pool,” is designated for “strong swimmers only.”

Police described a chaotic scene that day, with more than 8,500 guests at the water park in temperatures reaching the upper 80s. As the scene unfolded, a large crowd of more than 300 people began amassing around the pool with some becoming unruly, yelling and swearing, the report says.

Some witnesses are saying that lifeguards responded too slowly in coming to the man’s aid.

Police reports state that around 5 p.m., a 17-year-old lifeguard saw what was variously described as “a blob” or “a body” in the water and jumped in but didn’t find anything “due to the murkiness of the water.” Her supervisor also looked but didn’t see anything, according to reports.

Another lifeguard, 21, told police that some kids told him they saw a body at the bottom of the pool but he “believed that they were pranking him and….told the children it was paint scrapes on the bottom,” the police report states.

At about 5:15 to 5:20 p.m., someone dropped their glasses into the water and when an 18-year-old lifeguard went in to get them, he spotted the man at the bottom of the pool, police said.

Another lifeguard, 17, jumped into the water and they both brought the man up and starting performing CPR, according to reports.

South King Fire and Rescue arrived at 5:32 p.m. and took over CPR, but “he never was resuscitated,” South King Fire Capt. Jeff Bellinghausen tells PEOPLE. “He was deceased on the scene,” police spokeswoman Cathy Schrock tells PEOPLE.

“Our entire team is greatly saddened by this loss and we are working to fully understand the circumstances around this tragic accident,” Wild Waves said in a statement released by police. “We take safety extremely seriously and have made our entire team available to investigators….We are actively reviewing the facts as they become available including all of our safety protocols, reports from officials and the actions taken by our staff.”

Wild Waves did not immediately return PEOPLE’s request for further comment.

Infosys spokeswoman Pilar Elvira Wolfsteller tells PEOPLE the company is, “saddened by the loss of our colleague and extend our deepest condolences to his family,” she said. “We are in touch with them, and will ensure all possible support to them at this difficult time.”

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