A Chicago father, two of his children and a third child drowned Wednesday in a swirling pool at the Fort Worth Water Gardens, despite frantic efforts by bystanders and emergency workers to save them, reports the city’s Star-Telegram. The victims were among thousands of visitors attending the National Baptist Congress in Fort Worth. The family’s pastor said the children went to the Water Gardens to play because the swimming pool at their hotel was closed.
The Water Gardens is a cool oasis downtown. Thousands of gallons of recirculating water create different effects in pools, which are surrounded by landscaping and concrete walls. Signs at entrances warn visitors “No wading or swimming,” but the warning is commonly ignored. On Wednesday, one of the children slipped into the water of one pool, which started a chain reaction. A second child was pulled in while trying to save the first. The father then jumped in, followed by a third child. Suction from recirculating pumps at the bottom of the 9-foot pool pulled all four under.