Swimming pools are supposed to be light-hearted fun, places for people to relax and enjoy themselves. But, unfortunately, they can also be horrifying vortexes of death and despair. Man-made swimming pools and natural pools have been the cause of some of the worst ways to die imaginable.
Whether it's being boiled to death in one of Yellowstone's hot springs or getting electrocuted to death in your home swimming pool, pools can be less "fun places for relaxation" and more "deadly murder holes filled with water." Is that chlorine-scented body of water your friend, or your worst enemy?
In 2008, the entire Minneapolis metropolitan area mourned the death of 6-year-old Abigail Taylor, and a national panic began. The culprit - a common swimming pool drain - left parents nationwide in a frenzy.
Out for a casual summer pool day in late June, Taylor sat on the drain of a wading pool. The drain's "powerful suction ripped out part of her intestinal tract." Though Taylor was immediately rushed to the hospital and ultimately received organ transplants, the little girl died from rare, cancerous complications.
In 2016, 23-year-old Colin Scott was wandering around a hot spring at Yellowstone National Park when he slipped and fell into the pool of water, according to his sister. "Hot potting" is a somewhat common (though highly discouraged) practice among adventurous park tourists. Basically, you go find one of the park's hot springs and use it as a natural hot tub.
Unfortunately, this particular hot potting venture ended in tragedy. The spring Scott fell into contained boiling, extremely acidic water. By the time search and rescue crews showed up the next day, there were no remains to be found. Scott's entire body had disintegrated in the acidic water.
While most pool deaths are accidents, some accidents are more freak than others. On an summer day in Australia, a student visited a local pool with some friends. He jumped in, and mid-flight, the student's head collided with the head of a 23-year-old woman. The collision was hard enough to knock him unconscious, leaving him motionless in the pool. Though the woman lived, the student was pronounced dead a short time later.
In 1981, two men - David Kirwan, 24, and Ronald Ratliff, 25 - showed up at Yellowstone to check out the hot springs. Ratliff's Great Dane suddenly ran from the car and dove into the pool. Kirwan, in either an act of extreme bravery or foolishness, dove in after the dog. The result was tragic.
The water, a scalding 202 degrees Fahrenheit, nearly boiled Kirwan immediately. Bystanders helped him out of the pool, but his skin was badly burned and his eyes had gone completely white. He died the next day in a hospital. The dog, sadly, also passed away.