Experts say drownings are easily prevented

Three recent drowning occurred in backyard pools

Tracy Lehr, KEYT NewsChannel 3 Reporter, tracy@keyt.com
POSTED: 06:58 PM PDT Jun 10, 2013    UPDATED: 03:00 PM PDT Jun 11, 2013 
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VENTURA, Calif. -

Swim instructors and pool repair experts were saddened to hear about three drownings in the past week.

On Saturday Ventura County Sheriff's deputies said Nelson Alvarez, 37.  was found at the bottom of a back yard swimming pool during a pool repair near Piru. His father Ramon Alvarez, 79, went in after him. Both men died. 

Last Wednesday Vinura (Hareen) Wijesinghe, an international student at Bishop High drowned in a backyard pool on Azalea Drive in Carpinteria.

A memorial is being held Monday Night in front of his private school.

Swim instructor Rona Gonzalez said every time she hears about a drowning it tears her apart.  Gonzales teaches swimming at the Pierpont Racquet  Club in Ventura.

She said most drownings can be prevented with active supervision.

Gonzales believes there is a stigma that often prevents teens from saying they don't know how to swim.

She also said a person five feet away may not realize someone is drowning because a swimmer in distress may not be able to yell for help.  She said most drowning are silent.

She also said that adults should be within an arms reach of a child they are supervising and they should not be texting or on the phone.

Pool repair and service professional Leigh Sharp called the pool repair drowning tragic.

He said people can't hold their breath long enough to repair a pool.

Leigh is a certified diver and uses skuba gear.  Another option is to drain a pool.

Leigh said the electricity used by pool lights makes underwater repairs dangerous.

The owner of Sharp Pool, Inc., said people with pools should leave repairs up to professionals.  Sharp said most repairs cost about $100.

Many summer swim programs are starting this week.

Lessons are offered at the Pierpont for ages 3-months to adult.

Group lessons start for less than $20.

For information contact pierpontrc.com or call 805-648-5161.