Saturday, July 20, 2024

Wife of US tourist who died in Puerto Peñasco hot tub electrocution files US $1M suit

A U.S. woman whose husband passed away after being electrocuted in a hotel hot tub in the Mexican beach town of Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, has filed a wrongful death and negligence lawsuit against the resort operator seeking US $1 million in damages.

According to the Associated Press, the woman named Lizzette Zambrano, 35, filed the lawsuit against vacation rental provider Casago International and travel company High Desert Travel, both based in Arizona. The lawsuit holds them responsible for faulty electrical wiring in the Puerto Peñasco hot tub that caused the electrocution and death of Jorge Guillén, 43, and electrocution of Zambrano, which resulted in serious injury.

Jorge Guillen holds his wife Lizzette Zambrano in his arms, in what appears to be a vacation photo.
When she saw Jorge caught under the water, Lizzette jumped in to help him, only to be electrocuted herself. (Courtesy photo)

The Arizona-based travel operators did not respond to a request for comment from the AP.

Zambrano’s claim says that the tragedy began when her husband Guillén and several other family members arrived at the Sonoran Sea Resort, a complex of high-rise condos in Puerto Peñasco. Zambrano and Guillén headed to the jacuzzi to watch the sunset over the sea. When Guillén dipped his foot inside the hot tub, he was electrocuted. The shock knocked him down and he fell into the tub, quickly becoming trapped underwater.

As reported by the AP, the Mexican-American couple didn’t know an electric current was rippling through the hot tub water.

“It’s absolutely terrifying,” Tej Paranjpe, an attorney at the Houston-based firm PMR Law, told the AP on Saturday.

The pool and condos of Sonoran Sea Resort, the site of the hot tub electrocution
The fatal accident occurred at Sonoran Sea Resort in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora. (TripAdvisor)

Zambrano jumped in to rescue her drowning husband, but was jolted by the current and sucked in, too. Cellphone footage from the incident shows hysterical hotel guests gathering around the jacuzzi unable to help as they discover the invisible danger of the water.

The lawsuit says that the resort managers not only failed to prevent and warn guests about the hazards of the hot tub, but also failed to react quickly enough to the emergency. Ten minutes passed until hotel employees responded to the guests’ cries for help, Zambrano’s lawyers said.

“There was not a single staff member that did anything while Jorge was getting continuously shocked again and again underwater,” Paranjpe said.

According to the lawsuit, a guest dragged Zambrano out of the water. However, efforts to retrieve Guillén with poles and various metal tools only unleashed electric shocks on more people. When the manager eventually retrieved Guillén from the bottom of the jacuzzi, it was too late.

Zambrano was medevacked to Phoenix by helicopter and was discharged from the hospital on Friday.

The accident, which occurred on June 11 at around 8:30 pm, is currently being investigated by the Attorney General’s Office of Sonora.

Puerto Peñasco, also known as Rocky Point, is located on the Gulf of California, and is a popular beach destination among U.S. tourists due to its proximity to the Arizona border.

With reports from the Associated Press

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