The family of a drowning victim is suing a Wisconsin Dells resort, claiming the business and its employees were negligent leading up to the incident.
The wrongful death lawsuit against the Wilderness Hotel & Resort was filed by Lynn Ballard, of Palatine, Illinois. She is the wife of the late Patrick Page, who drowned at the resort on Dec. 21, 2011, at age 44.
According to police reports, witnesses told officers that Page was with his two daughters in the wave pool within the resort’s Wild WaterDome. He was in less than 3 feet of water, his daughter said, when a big wave knocked him out of his inner tube.
When Page was noticed face down in the water, fellow resort guests allegedly began to pull him in from the water before lifeguards took over and began to administer CPR. Dells-Delton EMS ambulance workers later arrived and administered life-saving efforts, but were unable to revive Page.
Dr. Michael Stier, a medical examiner with the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison, wrote in his autopsy report that Page died of indoor drowning, but that he may have initially suffered a heart attack.
“Given the fact that the decedent is a non-disabled adult and apparently drown in a very shallow pool, a precipitating natural process is likely,” Stier wrote. “Given the history in conjunction with the autopsy findings, a spontaneous cardiac event is most probable.”
Blood tests were negative for drugs or alcohol, but revealed a mild dose of ibuprofen and caffeine. Page was described as being a strong swimmer, and his daughter told police she did not see him hit his head.
The lawsuit claims the resort failed to properly train its staff and implement proper safety procedures regarding lifeguards. It said the resort’s lifeguards failed to respond in a timely manner and implement proper life saving procedures.
Page’s family is seeking compensation for pain and suffering, funeral and medical expenses, loss of earning capacity and other damages.
A Wilderness Hotel & Resort spokeswoman said Monday that Joe Eck, the business’ general manager, was not available for comment.
Page was a 20-year employee of Tata Steel Engineering.