Photo: Ty Greenlees
Photo: Ty Greenlees

Son of Xenia YMCA drowning victim wants to know ‘how can it happen?’

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Ajay Goenka said YMCA officials told him his father, Vijay Kumar Goenka, had been on the bottom of the pool approximately 5 minutes before anyone found him.

Vijay Kumar Goenka (Courtesy/Family)

In an interview with News Center 7’s Monica Castro on Wednesday evening, Ajay said YMCA officials told him there were supposed to be four lifeguards in the facility: Two were with a children’s class at a side pool, one had stepped out and one was supposed to be watching the pool his father was in.

According to an in-house video Ajay said he has yet to see, his father was standing in the pool when he appeared to slip. He struggled above the water for several seconds, Ajay said he was told, went under for several seconds, then stopped struggling and went under.

“That's the most hard-to-believe scenario,” Ajay said, “that there were so many people and five minutes is such a long time and nobody watched him struggling above the water, struggling below the water and that he was below the pool for such a long time and nobody saw anything.”

Saturday morning is usually busy time" at YMCA pool, he said.

He said YMCA officials told him they will show him the video after their experts view it.

Wednesday afternoon, this news organization contacted the Xenia YMCA for comment. By Wednesday night, no comment had come from the organization.

Ajay said his father lives in India and had been in Xenia visiting since June, as he had done every summer the last few years. His typical daily schedule was to go jogging, head to the gym and then to the pool, Ajay said.

He said his father had a history of heart surgery (15 years ago) and was on “very basic” medications since then.

“He was very healthy, very active,” Ajay said. “Never smokes. Never drinks. Vegetarian. Walks all day long.”

Beside Ajay and his wife, Vijay leaves to mourn at least two daughters in India, more than 100 friends there and many friends he had made in Xenia.

"It's very hard to agree with what happened," Ajay said. "The biggest question keeps coming in mind 24-7: How can it happen? How can it happen?" 

Even a minute seems a long time, he said. “It’s very hard to believe no one saw him go down and no one spotted him for nearly 5 minutes.”

If what happened to his father can happen with four lifeguards on duty, Ajay said, "What's the point of having lifeguards?"

EARLIER REPORT

A 67-year-old man died early Tuesday, days after he was found at the bottom of a Xenia YMCA swimming pool.

Vijay Kumar Goenka of Xenia died at 4:33 a.m. at Kettering Medical Center, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.

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Police and medics were called around 11:20 a.m. Saturday to the YMCA, 336 S. Progress Drive, for a possible drowning.

An employee reported the incident after Goenka was found at the bottom of the pool, according to a police incident report.

“This is the YMCA,” the woman told a 9-1-1 dispatcher. “We have a person in the pool. They’ve got them out of the pool. They’re doing CPR.”

When asked if it was a medical incident or a drowning, she replied: “He was on the bottom of the pool.”

Another person at the YMCA also made a 9-1-1 call about the incident.

“There’s a guy, I don’t know, it looks like he’s having a seizure by the pool,” the man said to a dispatcher. “One of the guys that works here just walked by and said, ‘call 9-1-1.’ ”

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The coroner's office ruled his death as the result of a drowning and other medical conditions.

We will continue to update this story as more information is available.

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