By Melissa Chan
August 23, 2016

A 32-year-old man who drowned at a Washington water park over the weekend may have been submerged for 15 minutes before lifeguards found him at the bottom of a pool, according to witness accounts.

Vijayarengan Srinivasan, a programmer who had moved to Washington state from India just two weeks earlier, died Saturday in a pool at Wild Waves Water Park. Children who said they saw a body at the bottom of a pool alerted a lifeguard, but they were initially dismissed because the 21-year-old lifeguard “believed that they were pranking him and did not think anything of it,” according to a Federal Way Police Department report.

Another lifeguard thought she saw a person at the bottom of the pool but couldn’t find anyone when she looked closer, police said. It was not until a lifeguard was diving to find another guest’s glasses about 15 minutes later that Srinivasan was discovered lying face up at the bottom of the pool near the water slides, authorities said.

Lifeguards and medics performed CPR but Srinivasan was “unresponsive, not breathing, and had no pulse,” according to the report. The King County Medical Examiner’s Office said Srinivasan died from drowning, and the death was ruled an accident.

Srinivasan, a programmer with Infosys, had only recently arrived in Washington from India, where his wife and 3-year-old child live, his friend told police.

Srinivasan went to the water park with his friend, Kesava Duraipandia, and told Duraipandia that he wasn’t a strong swimmer. Earlier in the day, the two were about to jump from a large rock platform into a 10-foot pool when Srinivasan changed his mind, according to the police report.

Duraipandia, 32, jumped safely while Srinivasan said he might go down nearby water slides “because kids were doing it and they were OK,” the friend told authorities. Duraipandia said he went looking for Srinivasan when he didn’t find his friend at their decided meeting place.

Wild Waves said in a statement that the water park’s “entire team is greatly saddened by this loss” as they work with authorities to “fully understand the circumstances around this tragic accident.”

“We take safety extremely seriously and have made our entire team available to investigators,” the statement said. “During this very difficult time, our thoughts and prayers are with the guest’s family.”

The U.S. water park death comes after a 10-year-old boy named Caleb Schwab was decapitated earlier this month while riding what has been dubbed the world’s tallest water slide at the Schlitterbahn Water Park in Kansas City, police said. The tragedy prompted calls for change in how the amusement park industry is regulated and run.

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