Coroner: Bridgeport drowning victim underwater 2 hours - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Coroner: Bridgeport drowning victim underwater 2 hours

Coroner John David Jordan said a child pointed out where the man went under. (Source: WAFF) Coroner John David Jordan said a child pointed out where the man went under. (Source: WAFF)
BRIDGEPORT, AL (WAFF) -

Jackson County Coroner John David Jordan said the drowning death of a Bridgeport man was accidental.

It happened Saturday evening at the Bridgeport City Pool. The victim was 48-year-old Bert Eugene Winston Jr.

Officials said Winston, who couldn't swim, was with members of a group from First Missionary Baptist Church on an annual picnic. 

Jordan said a child pointed out where the victim went under.

"According to one of the children, he was backing into the deeper part of the area, past the rope saying 'You can't get me, you can't get me,' and that's where he went under," said the coroner.

There are questions surrounding the clarity and condition of the pool at the time of the drowning. Church members said that the appearance of the pool made them end the outing early.

"The water was kind of murky,' said Pastor Anthony Williams. "The water didn't look to be at a level of swimming, so we had everyone get out of the pool."

Once church members realized Winston didn't rejoin the group, a search of the area began, which eventually reached back to the pool. After jumping over locked gates at the pool, they discovered Winston's body in the deep end of the pool, where the child had reported seeing him cross. 

He had been underwater for two hours, according to the coroner. It remains unclear why lifeguards or church members didn't find him for that length of time, with his clothes still at the pool.

The reported lack of clarity in the water has led to questions about why the pool was open to begin with. Residents said the pool shouldn't have been open. They plan to go to Monday's city council meeting to discuss their concerns about the maintenance and safety of the pool.

Copyright 2014 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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