The family of a man who met a bizarre and tragic end by being sucked into a jacuzzi at a Bahamian resort is suing the hotel for negligence, emotional distress and false imprisonment.
‘No Sandals employees were either trained or willing to provide CPR for the 45 minutes or more that transpired before an ambulance arrived.’
John Van Hoy Jr, 33, died on December 28, 2010 after he was sucked into the drain of the hotel’s whirlpool and drowned while workers allegedly ignored his fiancée’s cries for help. His family are suing the Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort, its American-based marketing firm, and the companies that built or supplied parts for the whirlpool.
According to Courthouse News Service, Mr Van Hoy was ‘in excellent shape, and could bench press over 300 pounds’, but when he dunked his body underwater he got caught in the whirlpool’s suction drain and could not free himself. His fiancée was said to be relaxing nearby when she noticed he did not come up for air.
She screamed for help, then jumped into the pool to try and save him herself after she claims that staff ignored her, but she was unsuccessful. The suit says: ‘Nicole Cleaveland then sought the help of a Royal Bahamian employee who ignored her pleas for help and walked away.’
When he was finally freed, the suit says that it took an ambulance 45 minutes to arrive and there was no one on site to administer CPR on Mr Van Hoy.
He was pronounced dead when he arrived at hospital. According to Miami New Times, the complaint also alleges that after the death, the phone was removed from Miss Cleaveland’s room, and that she was interrogated by hotel staffers who tried to get her to admit that either she or Mr Van Hoy was responsible for his death.
The complaint says: ‘In the final moments of his life, John Van Hoy Jr experienced unimaginable conscious terror and utter foreboding doom – all of which was exacerbated by him knowing that his [fiancée's] efforts to save him had failed.’
The family are seeking damages for negligence, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment and product liability.