Witnesses demand action after man dies in whirlpool at Tacoma park

There's a call to action after Monday's drowning that claimed the life of a 68-year-old man. Witnesses told FOX 13 News the victim was pulled under by a powerful whirlpool.

"I saw him get off his device," said witness Michael Maullof. "He didn't have a lifejacket on."

Maullof said he was on the beach when the incident occurred.

"He got pulled into the pipe and the firefighters found his body on the other side in the lagoon."

Investigators are still looking into the series of events that led to the man's death.

But preliminary reports suggest the man was sucked into a culvert that leads to a lagoon at Titlow Park and Lodge. He later died at an area hospital, according to Tacoma Police and Fire departments.

The incident began around 7:45 p.m. when the 68-year-old man was on a personal flotation device in Puget Sound, according to Tacoma police spokesperson detective William Muse.

"It just so sad," said Mauloff. "They could easily fix that whirlpool by putting big rocks or something down."

According to beach and park goers, the whirlpools are constant sightings.

"I always get away from the edge because you can see it swirling around and going into the pipe when it's high tide," said Danielle Kasmal. "It just makes you uneasy."

FOX 13 News found that there are no signs warning beach goers or swimmers of the whirlpools.

"This could have easily been preventable," said Kasmal. "There's no signs there. There's nothing showing how dangerous it is."

People on- and off-camera told FOX 13 News the man's death is an immediate call to action for signage.

FOX 13 News reached out to Metro Parks regarding signate in and around the area.

In a statement, a spokesperson said:

"The drowning at Titlow Beach is tragic. There has not, to our knowledge, been another incident like this. We are assessing signage at the park and there is signage and fencing on the Lagoon side of the area. Metro Parks is currently working with our government partners to assess signage needs on the beach side and other safety measures. We would highly encourage people to be cautious and aware of their surroundings while recreating on the water as danger exists with currents, riptides and changing tides."

As for the man who died, his name and official cause of death will be released by the medical examiner's office.


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