Florida Woman Catches Hypothermia Upon Swimming in 86 Degree Pool

On a steamy Florida afternoon in August, Beatrice Bellweather arrived home from her tennis lesson dripping in sweat. She walked out to the pool to check the temperature. Upon pulling the thermometer out of the pool, she was disappointed to see the water was a mere 86 degrees.

Beatrice and her family have a strict rule never to swim in water colder than 90 degrees. They’ve heard stories of Floridians dying upon contact with cold water. The Tampa sun beats down on Beatrice relentlessly. She looks longingly at the smooth, inviting ripples of the pool’s surface. She hears thunder in the distance. A storm is coming; she knows it’s now or never to take the plunge.

Beatrice, cringing, dips her big toe in the pool to test the water. Nothing happens. She’s pleased that she still has all ten toes. “I’m going in the pool!!!”, Beatrice shouts to her husband, who grunts in response from his throne in front of the TV.

Too hot to even change out of her tennis clothes, Beatrice decides to cannonball into the pool. She thinks shocking her body with the frigid 86 degree water is the best way to quickly adjust. She backs up against the screen of the pool, runs three steps and then cannonballs in.

Her body immediately goes into shock as her boiling Floridian blood comes into contact with the water. Hypothermia starts to set in and Beatrice starts to lose the ability to breathe. Her movements become erratic as she frantically swims in a circle over and over again. She realizes there’s no way she can make it out of the arctic water on her own and calls for her husband.

Beatrice’s husband comes racing out to the pool. He grabs the giant unicorn floaty from the side of the pool and glides over to Beatrice, careful not to touch the water. The unicorn floaty seems to be losing air quickly. Between its trip from the edge of the pool to where Beatrice splashes in pain, the floaty seemed to lose half it’s mass. The husband gasps as he realizes there are tiny holes in the bottom of the floaty.

“Hurry and get on Beatrice, come on!” Her husband shouts at her. Beatrice grabs the horn of the unicorn and tries to pull herself up, but the horn deflates in her hand. She flops around like a seal, desperately trying to land her shivering body on the float.

Water is filling the unicorn float at a swift pace. The couple locked eyes with each other. Realization that the unicorn float wasn’t big enough for two dawned on them.

“I’m so cold, Beatrice,” Her husband, who wasn’t nearly as submerged as Beatrice, told her. Beatrice looked at her full grown husband, clinging for dear life onto a unicorn float, and was suddenly overcome with affection.

She loosened her grip on the raft, succumbing fully to the freezing lagoon beneath.

“You must do me this honor…promise me you will survive…that you will never give up…no matter what happens…no matter how hopeless…promise me now, and never let go of that promise.” Beatrice says to her husband while holding his hand.

“I promise,” Beatrice’s husband replied.

“Never let go,” Beatrice whispered.

“I promise, I will never let go, Beatrice. I’ll never let go,” said Beatrice’s husband as he instantly let go of her hand. Beatrice sunk to the bottom of the pool.

With the weight of Beatrice off the raft, her husband was able to prop himself up enough to be mostly out of the water. Unfortunately, he has lost all his strength. Even the six foot doggie paddle to get to the edge of the pool would be too much for him. He started screaming for help from his neighbors.

When authorities arrived at the Bellweather home 20 minutes later, they found Beatrice lying motionless at the bottom of the pool. Mr. Bellweather was found sobbing silently on his deflating unicorn float. When he saw the officers arrive he repeated over and over again, “there was no room for two.”