Island Waterpark planning to appeal Cal/OSHA report following suspected drowning

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FRESNO, California. (KGPE) – Island Waterpark’s general manager is speaking out after a Cal/OSHA inspection found dozens of issues at the Fresno water park.

The inspection was prompted after the death of 46-year-old Sirenio Cortez Coronado, who died after being pulled from the wave pool on Father’s Day.

The 12-page report Cal/OSHA report is extensive, alleging issues from black algae to lifeguard training.

General Manager Bob Martin says it’s misleading and wants to assure visitors the water park is safe.

The wave pool has been closed for nearly a month in wake of Coronado’s death.

The inspection found the park didn’t immediately report the incident and preserve the accident scene.

It said the park is not effective in water quality testing, operational procedures, training, and maintenance.

Inspectors reported finding black algae on large areas of the wave pool floor, posing a health hazard and reducing visibility for lifeguards.

The report also listed that life rings had been damaged by the sun with knotted retrieval lines, and several hazards were found, including sharp edges, loose or damaged ladders, and fencing, faded safety lines, and missing safety signage.

General manager of 23 years, Bob Martin says the water park has a track record with the county and state of passing inspections.

It’s what cleared them to open this summer after a year lost due to the pandemic.

“We are not an unsafe waterpark, we’ve never been an unsafe waterpark,” said Martin.

He plans to appeal most of the findings, like the black algae, which he says was not there on the day of the death and only grew during the inspection.

“Black algae was caused by not being able to maintain our pool,” Martin explained.

Martin says they’ve already fixed most of the issues highlighted by Cal/OSHA.

But with the cause of death and autopsy report unreleased, there are still unanswered questions.

In the report, Cal/OSHA wrote that the man had been underwater for two minutes before someone noticed.

“I don’t know where they came up with that number. We’ve asked and appealed for, how did you make that determination?” asked Martin.

As for not promptly reporting his death, Martin admits it was a mistake to reopen the pool that day.

“I’ll take the responsibility for not reporting it immediately. But we were spending so much time on the investigation and handling our staff and our own emotions that we didn’t call it in properly,” said Martin.

It’s unclear how long the wave pool will be closed.

They’re in the process right now of fixing the issues and clearing the algae away.

Cal/OSHA has instructed the water park to re-train all lifeguards and employees who work at the wave pool. 

Martin says the park’s training is extensive and by the books, so he is asking the state for more clarification on what they’re looking for. 

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