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Criminal case against Alberta lifeguard dismissed in Fort McMurray drowning death

Dumitru Serbulenco poses with his daughter in an undated family handout image. Serbulenco drowned in a pool in Fort McMurray in 2020 after performing repetitive breath-holding exercises while under supervision of lifeguards. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Serbulenco family
Dumitru Serbulenco poses with his daughter in an undated family handout image. Serbulenco drowned in a pool in Fort McMurray in 2020 after performing repetitive breath-holding exercises while under supervision of lifeguards. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Serbulenco family
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Charges against an Alberta lifeguard have been dismissed in connection with a 2020 drowning death in Fort McMurray.

Dumitru Serbulenco, 34, died on Dec. 18, 2020, after an incident at the pool at the Suncor Community Leisure Centre in Fort McMurray.

A lawsuit filed by Serbulenco's family against the pool operator says Serbulenco was performing repetitive breath-holding exercises on Dec. 12 and had asked lifeguards to watch him.

He became unconscious and after six minutes lifeguards performed CPR, the claim says.

He was taken to hospital in Fort McMurray and later transferred to an Edmonton facility where he died six days after the incident.

In 2022, lifeguard Ruslan Anatayev was charged with criminal negligence causing death after what RCMP called a "lengthy" investigation.

After a preliminary hearing Crown prosecutors determined the case did not meet the necessary standard to prove criminal negligence, and the charge against Anatayev was dismissed on Feb. 14. 

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Sean Amato and The Canadian Press

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