US swimmers ignore dead body for two days

Marie Joseph in the public swimming pool at Lafayette Park in Fall River, Massachusetts, before she died. Photo / AP
Marie Joseph in the public swimming pool at Lafayette Park in Fall River, Massachusetts, before she died. Photo / AP

Massachusetts officials have closed a busy public swimming pool after a woman's dead body went unnoticed in the water for two days as people continued to swim.

The permit for the state-run swimming pool expired six months ago, and a city inspector who examined the site - just hours before the body surfaced - did not see the remains because the water was so murky, the Boston Globe reported.

The victim, Haitian immigrant Marie Joseph, 36, was last seen going down a slide into the Veterans Memorial Pool in the town of Fall River on Sunday.

Her body was not found until it surfaced late on Tuesday, when local teenagers jumped the fence for an after-hours swim.

The water may have become murky because the body had begun to decompose, the Globe reported.

Joseph went to the pool with two other adults and six children, a neighbour told the Globe.

A nine-year-old boy that went down the slide just before Joseph tried to alert lifeguards but was ignored, according to Veronica Reis, a friend of the victim.

"The little boy was trying to pull her back up, but he couldn't," she said, according to the Globe. "She was too heavy, and she was too slippery from the water."

Joseph, who worked as a housekeeper, slid into a side of the pool that is 3.7m deep. Friends told the paper she apparently did not know how to swim.

Some 24 state pools more than 0.6m deep were closed while officials review safety procedures, the Globe said.

Health inspectors, who believe the death was accidental, said the pool's chlorine level was adequate and swimmers were not at risk after using the pool, the Globe said.

- AFP

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