A posted sign saying “No Lifeguard on Duty” hung just steps from the pool wall that Christina Awosina let go of. She wanted to help her nephew struggling in the deep end Sunday evening, according to Chesterfield County, Virginia authorities.
As Awosina, 23, tried to come to 6-year-old Cah’lik Brown’s aid in the Chesterfield Village Apartments pool, they both began to struggle in the water, authorities said, WTVR reported.
They were both unresponsive when a swimmer dove into the deep end and spotted them, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.
Despite being in a pool full of between 15 to 20 people, no one noticed that Awosina and her nephew needed help, witnesses told WTVR. Wilmer Perez told NBC 12 that everyone was "doing their own thing." Bystanders didn’t jump into action until the person in the deep end saw the victims in distress.
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"Somebody said there was a woman under the pool and that she had drowned," Perez told WRIC. "So I had dived in there, tried to help her out and save her. Five minutes later there was this young boy that was there. I dived in, got the boy out the pool. We started doing like CPR."
Officers and community members performed CPR on Awosina and Brown until the ambulance came to take them to the hospital, the Times-Dispatch said.
They both died, WRIC reported.
A “No Lifeguard” sign is posted inside the pool area, multiple media outlets reported, but neighbors told WTVR that the apartment complex provides a “pool monitor.” The job typically requires the person to make sure the pool rules are being followed, while a lifeguard is tasked with protecting people’s lives.
A resident at the apartment complex, Shawn Swinson, told the news station that he hopes the pool area is better monitored from now on.
"Hopefully the management here gets the message, and they make it right. Nothing is ever going to make it right for the family," he said.
Police say foul play isn’t suspected in the deaths, WRIC reported.