• 'A death trap': Family says flawed design caused man's drowning death in bathtub

    By: Tom Regan

    Updated:

    BARTOW COUNTY, Ga. - The family of a Marine veteran who drowned in a walk-in bathtub is suing the manufacturer, Jacuzzi.

    Mac Smith, 69, drowned in the bathtub, which was specifically designed for senior citizens. The bathtub was installed to ease Smith's pains.

    On the day of the incident, Smith's wife, Barbara, raced into the bathroom after realizing he'd slipped off

    Mac Smith died after he drowned in this walk-in bathtub his family installed to ease his pains
    WSB-TV
    the tub seat and gone under. He was lying with his back on the bottom and his legs up in the air.

    She called 911.

    "It's tough to this day. I didn't get to say goodbye to him," said his son, Trace Smith. "I didn't think may father would drown in a bathtub, especially one superficially designed for senior citizens."

    The family's lawyer told Regan he deposed a former design engineer for Jacuzzi.

    "It's a dangerous product," said Charles Allen. (I asked him) 'What test did you do for the specific design for seniors?' He said, 'Zero, nothing.'

    Allen said one of the key flaws is that the entry door swings in instead of out. He said that can prevent someone from getting out quickly if they slip under water.


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    He added that bathers are prone to slid off the seat when reaching for the faucets. If their legs lift up, he says, they can get stuck in the well and be unable to open the inward-facing door.

    "He's stuck on the top of the drain and the door," he said.

    'You're trapped.  It's a deathtrap ultimately," Trace Smith said.

    Jacuzzi sent Regan a statement, which expressed a condolence to the family. It added, "Our products meet or exceed all federal and industry standards and we are confident when additional information comes to light, the facts will show the design of the Jacuzzi Walk-in Tub was not responsible for this unfortunate incident."

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