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State representative proposes bill in response to drowning death of teen at Land of Illusion

BUTLER COUNTY — Three months after a Dayton teen died after drowning at Land of Illusion’s Aqua Adventures, an Ohio lawmaker is pushing to make the state’s swimming areas safer.

The Butler County Sheriff’s Office said Mykiara Jones, 14, died from drowning at the water park in July. Now, State Representative Thomas Hall said under the current law, there is no singular group in charge of regulating swimming facilities like the one at Land of Illusion.

Hall told News Center 7′s Molly Koweek that the bill he is proposing, House Bill 457, would require Ohio’s health director to make safety rules for businesses that allow swimming on man-made ponds, lakes or other similar bodies of water.

>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Dayton teen dies in suspected drowning at Butler County waterpark

As part of H.B. 457, the state’s health director would have to work with the director of agriculture when creating rules that involve inflatable devices in water.

As News Center 7 previously reported, Jones, a rising freshman at Middletown High School, was in the water for about 30 minutes before she was spotted by a lifeguard and pulled out by firefighters. Hall said he hoped his bill would prevent something like this from happening again.

“Obviously with a tragic situation, we want to try and prevent any of these situations from ever happening,” Hall said. “And I feel like with House Bill 457, we can address some of the issues that the local health department observed and reported to us.”

>> Manager of Land of Illusion water park writes open letter after teen’s death

Hall told News Center 7 that he had a direct connection to the incident at Land of Illusion, as his father, the Madison Twp. Fire Chief, was one of the first responders on the scene that day.

Hall called H.B. 457 “one of the most important bills” he believes he will ever work on.

Following Jones’ death, Land of Illusion hired an independent investigator to look into incident. The investigator said his findings revealed that there were no violations of laws or regulations.