Family of Brothers Who Drowned Prepare to Sue City Over Unsafe Pool

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The family of two teenagers who drowned in a Bayonne, NJ, school pool last year are close to filing a lawsuit against the city for what attorneys describe as a systemic failure to operate the pool safely. 

According to The Jersey Journal, attorneys Daryl Zaslow and Barry Eichen said their investigation into the Lincoln Community School pool found a failure to both identify and mitigate dangers present at the pool. The lawyers worked with aquatics experts to prepare the complain, and they expect to file in February. 

“The city has the responsibility to prevent this incident, to recognize what was happening at the onset … and to safely and responsibly respond to it, and at every one of those they failed,” Zaslow told The Jersey Journal Friday.

Police have said there were three lifeguards on duty that evening when ZhengYu “Jack” Jiang, 16, and Chu Ming Zheng, 19, drowned in the school pool. The two boys are survived by their mother, father and younger sister. 

“Their lives are destroyed,” Zaslow said. “The mom can’t converse without breaking down.”

The city and the school superintendent declined to comment on the prospective litigation. The pool remains closed, though the superintendent declined to say why. 

At least three lifeguards were present at the time of the boys' drowning, and firefighters and EMTs responded as well. Photographs of the pool show a sudden drop off from a section labeled as 4 feet deep to one labeled as 13 feet deep. 

Zaslow described the siblings as having minimal swimming skills. Zheng was able to swim in the shallow end and had been teaching his brother and sister how to swim, he said.

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