Florida accident highlights pool dangers in the Valley

PALM DESERT, Calif. - Three Florida children are back home recovering after a horrifying event while swimming in a community pool.  The pool was full of children last month when it suddenly became electrically charged, trapping them underwater. Even though it didn't happen here in the desert, the risk is higher than you might think.

Now we are seeing exactly what happened for the first time through surveillance video, including the heroes who risked their lives to pull them out.

It started off a sunny Sunday at the local Florida pool, when a little girl touches the metal handrail. Right away she is paralyzed by electricity. 

Within seconds the man on the steps realizes something's wrong . He grabs the little girl, gets shocked himself, but manages to yank the child out of the water.

But it's not over, as everyone ran away from the pool, another child is still there, also trapped. His grandfather risks his owns life to pull the girl's limp body out of the water.

"I was in the pool and then the metal railing, I was swimming close to it, and I felt a shock," said victim Diego Cabrera.

Inspectors say the pool pumps wasn't properly grounded, so when it malfunctioned, it electrified the water.

While these accidents are rare, it can happen right here in the Valley, even in your own back yard.

"I'd say 90% of the swimming pools in the Coachella Valley are not equipped with a current electrical grid," said Claro Pool Services president Steve Little.

That electrical grid is required by code since 2008, but many pools here in the Valley are much older.  

"Yes it could happen here, and is likely to happen here," said Little. 

"More often than not, it happens with Jacuzzi where they will call us up and say we have a tingling feeling in the Jacuzzi and we know exactly what that is," said Desert Electric general manager Frank Luersen.  

Calling a licensed professional is the best way to identify the problem , but there are warning signs you can see yourself.

"Cracked concrete vary old concrete around the pool, broken conduit, broken or lose high voltage wires," said Little.

"It's very preventable," said Luersen.

"Save one life, that's all we have to do is save one life," said Little.

Most licensed pool contractors or electricians will come out and inspect your pool for free. 

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