An awful tragedy struck two families today at a pond in Worcester.
Worcester Police received multiple calls reporting that someone was possibly drowning Green Hill Pond at around 1:35 p.m. Several officers responded and immediately went into the pond to rescue the struggling swimmer, reportedly a 14-year-old boy. Officers brought two people out of the water, but then discovered an officer was missing. Following a search, officer
Enmanuel “Manny” Familia was found about an hour later and was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Familia was with the Worcester Police Department for five years. He leaves his wife, Jennifer, and two young children, Jayla and Jovan. The teenager, whose name has not been released, was located shortly afterward and taken to a local hospital, where he too was pronounced dead. Surprisingly, a diver was also taken to a hospital for minor injuries.
This an awful tragedy, and it illustrates just how dangerous a common activity – swimming – can be. Swimming and swimming pool injuries can be devastating, because of largely one reason: The organ damaged in these accidents is often the brain – due to oxygen deprivation. While other accidents such as motor vehicle accidents, truck accidents, explosion accidents and construction accidents can cause terrible and life-long injuries, swimming injuries rank up there with birth injuries for essentially the same reason: Brain damage that often results. And as a Boston Massachusetts drowning accident attorney who has seen too many of these types of accidents, I can assure readers that – by far and away – death can often not be the worst outcome. Irreversible brain damage can be. Try to imagine what would happen to you if you were deprived of oxygen for several minutes, but rescuers then resuscitated you.
The high odds are that you’d suffer massive brain damage. This could leave you essentially a vegetable for the rest of your life: Unable to speak, to walk, or to live in any “normal” way at all. You’d probably live the rest of your time in an institutional setting.
What’s surprising in today’s accident – but serves as a warning to all – is that these two deaths – one a police officer – happened in a pond: Without waves, without currents, without an undertow. Flat water – yet two people are dead. This underscores the heightened danger of swimming in swimming pools, where diving accidents and slip and falls on concrete aprons – can be devastating. The property where these two deaths occurred today is owned by the city of Worcester. This has legal implications because the city’s liability is capped under Massachusetts law, so if lifeguards were nor present or some other form of negligence id discovered in the investigation of this incident, liability and damages could be limited.
This weekend begins the first heat wave of summer 2021. A lot of people – especially kids – will want to go swimming. As a Massachusetts swimming accident lawyer, I can’t emphasize enough: Never swim alone, and never take chances.