Family: Man who died in Richmond pool was under water for 10+ mi - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Family: Man who died in Richmond pool was under water for 10+ minutes

Clyde Belle Clyde Belle
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

A distraught family is looking for answers, more than a week after their elderly father was pulled from a Richmond city pool. The family says Clyde Belle, 83, was found at the bottom of the Swansboro pool, for over ten minutes, last Thursday.

Richmond police are investigating, and the medical examiner has not yet determined an official cause and manner of death. However, Belle’s family wants to know why a witness in the pool says he went unnoticed at the bottom of the deep end for so long.

"It would be great to get some answers," said Sheilah Belle, Clyde Belle’s niece. "It's been tough. It has been tough."

The radio personality says her uncle loved swimming several times a week at Swansboro pool, run by Richmond's Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities.

"He started going to the pool because it was good exercise. It was therapeutic. He was going maybe two or three times a week," continued Belle.

However, Sheilah says her uncle's unexpected death at the pool raises troubling questions for her family.

A woman swimming in the pool at the time reached out to NBC12. She asked that her identity to not be revealed. The witness says there are typically two class instructors on duty.

However, on March 9, she says one was out, and the other lifeguard was teaching a class in the shallow end. The woman says she saw Mr. Belle near the stairs of the deep end, where she was swimming.

A short while later, she saw something at the bottom of the pool, mistaking it for equipment. The woman says at least ten minutes later, she realized what she saw was Mr. Belle's body. She called for help and says the lifeguard pulled Mr. Belle from the water, while another swimmer tried to revive him.

"If there was a lifeguard on duty, where was the lifeguard?" questioned Belle.

Mr. Belle's daughter says an emergency room doctor said her father arrived at the hospital not breathing and with no pulse. She says the doctor believed Mr. Belle had been underwater for approximately 20 minutes.

"And to be under water for more than ten minutes, 15 minutes, and then we're finding out 20 to 30 minutes... That's unacceptable," said Belle.

Richmond city officials released this statement:

Swansboro Pool is staffed with lifeguards during operating hours. The number of lifeguards depends on the type of program that is occurring and the number of patrons that are in the facility. During this unfortunate accident, Swansboro Pool was being used for open swim as the weekly water aerobics class had been canceled.

The Richmond Police Department is currently investigating and the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities plans to review the investigation results.

The Richmond Medical Examiner’s Office has not yet determined an official cause and manner of death.

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