FEDERAL WAY, Wash. -- The King County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed Monday that a man pulled from the water at Wild Waves water park in Federal Way on Saturday died by accidental drowning. The victim was identified as 33-year-old Vijayarengan Srinivasan.
In a Federal Way police report, a friend who accompanied the victim to the park said Srinivasan had just arrived in Washington state from India about two weeks ago and was working as a computer programmer at a tech company in Bellevue. The friend said Srinivasan had a wife and 3-year-old child back in India and was staying with him while he got settled in Washington.
The friend said Srinivasan did not tell him of any medical issues but did say "he was not a good swimmer." Srinivasan gave that reason earlier for deciding not to jump into the water from a big rock platform after a lifeguard told him the water was 10 feet deep at that point.
According to the friend, Srinivasan said he might go down to the nearby water slides because "kids were doing it and they were OK."
He did not realize the water depth at the end of the water slides was also 10 feet.
The two men became separated at the point and the friend told police that he returned to the activity pool after about 20 to 30 minutes and found lifeguards trying to save Srinivasan.
A lifeguard told police he was searching for a customer's lost prescription eyeglasses at the bottom of the pool and discovered Srinivason's body. He and others pulled him to the surface and began life-saving measures before medics showed up to take over. But Srinivason did not survive.
Wild Waves reopened for business Sunday, hours after the man drowned in the Activity Pool. Park-goers couldn’t help but notice staff taking extra precautions.
"The ride that the accident happened on is completely closed down and roped off and extra employees making sure nobody goes around that area," said Michelle Gellerstedt, a park goer.
But a day later, the Bugg family was still shaken up by what happened because they say siblings Alexa and Tyler Bugg witnessed it all.
Alexa Bugg said she and her brother tried to tell a lifeguard but their first attempt went ignored, a similar story witnesses gave Saturday night from other witnesses.
"He said I think someone is drowning and he told the lifeguards and then they came down and they said, no, I just think they’re metal grates," recalled Al Henderson, who said he also witnessed the incident.
Henderson and his wife Reva Mickens say the lifeguards seemed ill-prepared.
"When he rolled over I said, listen you need to get him up," said Mickens. "They said ma’am back up, and I said no, let my husband pull him up you need to do two compressions."
However, Mike Binder saw a different side, saying lifeguards did all they could.
"For 10 minutes they were pounding on his chest intensively," said Binder. "You could see the lifeguards were doing everything in their power to try to save this guy."
Wild Waves wouldn’t specifically comment on the witness claims, but released a statement saying:
"We are helping authorities with the follow-up investigation. Our thoughts are with the family in this difficult time."