The family of a man who drowned tragically under the suction force of a hotel whirlpool is suing the resort, its marketing firm, and the hot tub manufacturer.
John Van Hoy Jr., 33, was lounging in the hot tub at the Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort on Dec. 28, 2010 when he dipped his head, only to be trapped underwater by the extreme force of the whirlpool's suction outlet, Courthouse News Service reports.
The complaint describes Van Hoy as "in excellent shape," with the ability to bench press over 300 pounds. Nevertheless, the suction force was allegedly so strong that he could not free himself.
According to the Van Hoy estate, desperate calls for aid from Van Hoy's fiancee, Nicole Cleaveland, were ignored by hotel staff, leading Cleaveland to dive into the hot tub, fully clothed.
The estate claims that no Sandals employees attempted to assist Cleaveland or shut off the suction pump motor. Employees are barred from the pump house, and were therefore unable to access the power-switch for the device, according to Courthouse News.
Several guests did jump into the hot tub to help free Van Hoy from beneath the water, but, after waiting 45-minutes for an ambulance, Van Hoy was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The lawsuit also alleges that hotel employees removed the telephone from Cleaveland's room, and that hotel staff interrogated her with the intention of having her concede fault in Van Hoy's death.
The family is suing for negligence, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment and product liability.