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I-Team: Hidden Pool Drain Danger
A silent and powerful force lurks in tens of thousands of public and backyard pools. And the CBS4 I-Team has learned that, despite a new federal law designed to prevent it, the danger remains. CBS4 I-Team investigator Stephen Stock shows why Florida Health Officials remain powerless, unable or unwilling to enforce federal law and stop the danger from lurking under the water.
"Jordan even though you were with us just a little while, " reads the poem Donna Bucy recites about her son nearly every day. "I miss him. I miss him a lot," Bucy said.
The Ocala mother lives with the memory of what happened to 10 year-old Jordan ten years ago this month.
"I feel like he should still be here," said Bucy. "He would be 19."
On August 22, 1999, Jordan died after the drain in his family's spa sucked him under a few feet of water and held him there despite all efforts to pull him out.
Donna Bucy remembers it as if it were yesterday. "I jumped him and I tried to free him the suction was so great that I couldn't pull his hand out," said Bucy.
Think that's impossible?
Then talk to Pembroke Pines police officer Dave Parsons, a veteran officer who's responded to dozens of pool and spa accidents over his career.
"I was thinking in my head what is this lady doing get him out of the pool," Parsons remembers of the incident this past July 4th at a family spa.
Officer Parsons regularly lifts weights and by all accounts is as strong as an ox. But even he could not free a five year-old stuck in the spa drain, the same problem that Donna Bucy had ten years ago. This time Parsons and his colleague, Dennis Cuba found the five year old stuck underwater sucked into a family spa.
Officer Parsons found the child's mother, aunt and grandmother bailing out the spa's water because they couldn't free the child. Despite his strength and training Officer Parsons couldn't get him out either.
"I pushed her (the mother) out of the way the whole time thinking to myself "How could she not get him out of the water?"" officer Parsons said. "I tried to pull him out of the water without a lot of effort and realized immediately that he was seriously stuck."
"I took a good deep breath and went underwater and got a hold of him the best that I could possibly get a hold of him as long as I could hold my breath pulling and pulling and pulling," the veteran officer said, describing those frantic moments.
"I even pulled at an angle to try to get his arm out because I could see underwater and couldn't get him out," Parsons said.