The Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office in Barnstable, Mass., recently disclosed how a lifeguard died during tryouts.
According to the DA’s office, Jack Jakubek, 22, died in May 2016 from “asphyxia by drowning in a person with seizure disorder” during Nauset Beach lifeguard tryouts in Orleans, Mass.
Jim Grumbach of Boston Law Collaborative, the attorney for Jakubek’s estate, informed the Cape Cod Times that the town of Orleans has reached a $100,000 settlement with the lifeguard’s family, the maximum allowed under state law for municipal negligence.
A few months after Jakubek’s death, Grumbach sent a letter to the town of Orleans and its insurer, MIIA, demanding $100,000 in a wrongful death claim. The letter claimed Orleans was negligent in several areas. Grumbach said issues ranged from a tryout course that was too far away from shore, to the lack of a “buddy system” for swimmers, and the lack of an assigned administrator to maintain a count of the 14 participants. The test consisted of a run, followed by a swim, then another run. The letter said Jakubek drowned during the swim portion of the test, and that neither his absence nor his body were discovered until the final run portion of the test approximately 30 minutes later.
The letter went on to say that swimmers were not provided with emergency flotation buoys, which had been provided in the past.
Jakubek’s family said that the young man was in good health and a “strong, experienced swimmer” who had worked as a lifeguard in Cape Cod, Mass., the previous two summers. He had nocturnal epilepsy but rarely suffered seizures, only at night, and was being treated for it, the letter added.