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Man sucked to bottom of pool at Taiwan's Farglory Hotel Hualien


在台灣花蓮遠雄悅來飯店 男子遭吸到泳池底


'Closest I've come to instant death in a hotel,' wrote man after being sucked under by broken pool drain


TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A man nearly drowned after he was sucked to the bottom of a hydrotherapy pool after a drain cover broke at the Farglory Hotel Hualien over the weekend.

On Tuesday (Jan. 17) a member of the Facebook group TW Hotel surnamed Chang (張) who goes by the handle Dave Ch posted an account of his harrowing experience. At the top of the post, he wrote that the incident was "The closest I've come to instant death in a hotel," but was glad it happened to him instead of any children.

Chang and his wife and two children checked into the hotel at around 4 p.m. on Saturday (Jan. 14). He and his family went to go swimming in the indoor pool at around 4:24 p.m.

At around 4:50 p.m., he took his 5-year-old child to the warm hydrotherapy pool to relax. However, his child's head suddenly sank underwater and had a hard time coming back up. Frightened, the child began crying and ran out of the pool to seek comfort from his mother.

Chang said he thought his child panicked because he was not able to swim. Chang went back to the hydrotherapy pool at around 5:08 p.m. and said that due to his height, he needed to squat down to soak his chest in the spa.

However, at the moment he was crouching down in the pool, the drain cover suddenly broke and pulled him down. He said his hips were pulled down with such force that his body formed a V shape, with his hands and feet at the top and his buttocks at the bottom.

Chang tried to stretch his neck upwards to get out of the water but was instantly pulled down again. He tried to raise his head out of the water several times to call for help.

The first time he raised his head up, he was only able to open his mouth for a fraction of a second before being pulled back down. The second time, he swallowed water and only managed to utter the word "help" briefly as he slapped his arms on the water violently.

He wrote the suction was like "three strong men pulling you from behind." After calling for help two or three times, he took one long breath and used all his strength to pull himself sideways, and was "finally able to get away from this horrible drain hole."

Chang said since the hydrotherapy pool is by the window and blocked by two countertops, there was a blind spot for the lifeguard, and he could only try to make noise to attract attention. Chang said the lifeguard did not arrive until he had already gotten out of the pool.

He blamed a 25 cm x 25 cm square drainage hole at the bottom of the pool for the incident. He said that "children below second grade may be directly sucked in and disappear beneath the water."

Chang said the hotel manager did not appear until more than 30 minutes after the incident. During that time, he claimed many parents brought their children into the venue, but the hotel did not stop them from entering.

"What scares me is the crisis management awareness and attitude of the entire hotel," wrote Chang. He said there is another large swimming pool that is deeper, and there seem to be two drainage holes of the same size at the bottom, representing a "lurking crisis."

Among the photos he included in the post was an image showing a massive bruise on his buttocks. "I'm thankful I'm alive this time... I hope my big buttocks bruise can save the lives of more children... I believe this is a public safety issue, it's really scary!"

The Farglory Hotel Hualien on Tuesday (Jan. 17) issued a statement in which it expressed its "deepest apology" for the injuries suffered by the guest caused by an "abnormality with the hotel's spa pool facilities." It claimed that after the incident occurred, hotel staff "immediately stepped forward" to express their apology to the guest and suggested that he seek medical treatment.

At 6:30 p.m. that evening, officers from the Hualien County Police Bureau arrived at the hotel to conduct an investigation. The guest agreed to see a doctor and hotel staff accompanied him to Mennonite Christian Hospital for examination and treatment, and file a police report.

The hotel claimed that staff proposed compensation for his injuries. However, the hotel stated that Chang declined to discuss the matter, citing "pending legal procedures."

Farglory said it "respects the guest's wishes" and will cooperate with law enforcement agencies in providing relevant information. It said after the incident occurred on Jan. 14, the hotel immediately closed the swimming and spa facilities.

According to the hotel, after comprehensive testing and inspections were conducted, the swimming pool equipment was deemed to be safe and in order. The main pool was reopened on Jan. 15, but the hydrotherapy pool is undergoing maintenance and is currently closed off to guests.

It closed with the following statement:


"Farglory Plaza Hotel has always been committed to providing a safe and comfortable travel environment for guests. We are deeply sorry for causing this incident, and the hotel will re-examine hotel facilities with the hopes of continuing to use the safest facilities to protect the rights and interests of guests."
 
Keoni Everington, Taiwan News, Staff Writer  
2023-01-18  

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