What does clumsy handling by RIOC tell us about a drowning death in Sportspark?

What does clumsy handling by RIOC tell us about a drowning death in Sportspark?

A drowning death in Sportspark went unnoticed by local residents for 24 hours. And it wasn’t until the Roosevelt Islander started poking around that skimpy details began trickling out.

David Stone

Roosevelt Island Daily News

Although the drowning death occurred late Sunday afternoon, according to a report by the Roosevelt Islander, residents were mostly in the dark until this morning. That’s when they were confronted with a “Pool Closed” sign at Sportspark.

RIOC’s ineptness at communicating is legendary and worse than ever lately, but this one’s troubling.

Because the state agency disclosed nothing until the Roosevelt Islander asked questions, its failure has red flags flying.

After getting a tip, the Roosevelt Islander asked both FDNY and RIOC about the rumored incident.

full moon over the mountains
Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

According to FDNY, “Units responded to 250 W. Main st at 17:21 hrs on 05/16 for a report of a drowning /cardiac arrest. Patient transported to Mt Sinai queens.”

But RIOC did not answer until hours later. And for whatever reason, it was pure boilerplate and CYA:

It is with great sadness that we confirm on Sunday, May 16th at approximately 5:25 p.m., a 21-year-old individual, who was utilizing Sportspark Pool, was rushed to Mount Sinai Queens where they were pronounced dead.

Chief Kevin Brown of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation Public Safety Department responded to the incident, along with EMT, FDNY, and NYPD. RIOC is working in full support of an investigation being conducted by the NYPD and the Medical Examiner’s office. Additionally, an internal review is being conducted by RIOC to learn and understand the facts surrounding this devastating incident.

During this time, the thoughts, prayers, and condolences of everyone at RIOC are with the family, friends, and loved ones of this young person.

RIOC Alert, 4:34 p.m., May 17th, 2021.

Drowning death in Sportspark questions…

What jumps out immediately is the lack of a cause or any details. The Roosevelt Islander reports a rumor of a heart attack and a drowning, and the FDNY repeats that.

But according to RIOC, a 21-year-old was “utilizing” Sportspark and was rushed to the hospital. No reason given.

Deeply concerning is the failure to mention a lifeguard or any other RIOC personnel, except PSD chief Kevin Brown, who certainly was not the first on the scene.

And why emphasize “…working in full support of an investigation being conducted by the NYPD and the Medical Examiner’s office.

And what’s provoking an “internal review?”

In reality, we learn more from the Roosevelt Islander than from RIOC. And more timely too, and that’s not right.

Late update…

At 5:30, RIOC announced an ‘Emergency Board Meeting” for tomorrow at 5:30. Because they cancelled their regular May meeting, just last week, this is a curious development. It may have nothing to do with the Sportspark drowning. The single agenda item is “Pending Litigation,” which means they may go immediately into executive session, that is, they kick us out.

We will keep you informed.

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