Drowning in Float Tank Draws Promises of Heightened Spa Regulation

In response to a lawsuit filed this week by the Texas trial law firm, Deans & Lyons, related to the drowning death of a 71-year-old woman in an aquatic sensory deprivation tank, Texas State Sen. Jane Nelson has announced she will pursue legislation strengthening oversight of such spas.

Deans & Lyons attorney Michael Lyons represents the family of Gloria Fanning, who died in April following a visit to The Float Spot in Flower Mound. The 71-year-old grandmother was given a brief orientation before being sealed in one of the spa’s sensory deprivation tanks which are filled with medical grade magnesium sulfate. An employee claimed Ms. Fanning was discovered in a state of “distress” and initially called the business owner for guidance rather than calling 911 for immediate assistance.

Mr. Lyons told the Dallas Morning News that Ms. Fanning’s death was the result of a rapidly growing industry that has been allowed to fly under the radar of governmental regulations.

“It’s what happens when you have an unregulated, dangerous enterprise. There is no governing body that says what the governmental requirements are for these things. The industry as a whole has resisted any sort of regulatory oversight,” he told the newspaper in a June 2 report on the family’s lawsuit.

“Gloria was promised an experience that was beneficial and completely safe. The company’s own website claims that accidental drowning is not possible, which is patently untrue and contradicts reports of others across the country who have died in a similar fashion,” said Mr. Lyons. “This is a rapidly expanding industry that lacks any of the regulation necessary to ensure that customers are kept safe inside these aquatic sensory deprivation tanks. It is too late for Gloria, but this has to change.”

Sen. Nelson, who represents District 12, which includes Flower Mound, released a statement Tuesday noting that “This is a tragic situation that should never have happened. Clearly stronger oversight is needed, and I am developing legislation to ensure that we are protecting public health and safety,” according to KTVT CBS Dallas/Fort Worth. Her full statement can be found at https://senate.texas.gov/press.php?id=12-20180605a.

For more information on the Fanning family’s lawsuit or to speak with Michael Lyons, please contact Rhonda Reddick at 800-559-4534or rhonda@androvett.com.

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