Fatal Accident at Sundhöll Swimming Pool

Vala Hafstað

On Thursday last week, an unconscious man was pulled from the bottom of the Sundhöll swimming pool on Barónstígur, Reykjavík, mbl.is reports. Resuscitation efforts proved unsuccessful, and the man was subsequently pronounced dead. He had been lying at the bottom of the pool for six minutes.

The deceased was 31 years old. Initial reports by police stated he had been ill, but his father, Guðni Heiðar Guðnason, tells mbl.is his son was perfectly healthy.

“My son was 31 years old and perfectly healthy,” he states.

The deceased, who worked as a caretaker of mentally ill patients, was in the pool with a client, as was his custom every day.

“Something happened in the pool, but what it was has not been confirmed, since no autopsy has yet been performed,” Guðni explains. An autopsy is planned to determine the cause of death.

Guðni is critical of how long it took to try to rescue his son: “Something occurred, and he sank to the bottom. For six minutes, my son lay at the bottom of the pool.” He notes that the pool was renovated relatively recently.

“Among the equipment that ought to be in new pools is one that detects anything motionless at the bottom,” Guðni states. “If something remains motionless for more than 15 seconds, alarms should sound.” He wonders whether this equipment had not yet been installed, or whether it failed to work.

A new outdoor pool was taken into use at the Sundhöll at the end of 2017, but the indoor pool is as old as the building. Guðni doesn’t know in which one of the pools his son died.

He wonders where the pool lifeguards were during those six minutes. “Which work procedures were not followed,” he asks. “Why did my son lie at the bottom for six minutes?”

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