The family of the brothers who drowned in a Bayonne school's swimming pool have taken the first step in filing a $100 million lawsuit.

Jack Jiang, 16, and 19-year-old Chu Ming Zheng, a freshman at the University of Miami, drowned while swimming at the Lincoln Community School on June 8.

The pool is open to the public for certain hours, which is when the brothers were swimming.

Bayonne police said they became "distressed" in the deep end of the pool and did not resurface. Two of the three lifeguards on duty jumped into the water and pulled the brothers out.

Along with a third lifeguard, they administered CPR before first responders arrived, according to police. The brothers later died at Bayonne Medical Center

In identical $50 million tort claim notices, attorney Daryl Zaslow of the firm Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow claims negligence led to the drowning. A tort notice must first be filed when a public entity is going to be sued in New Jersey.

Lincoln Community School pool in Bayonne
Lincoln Community School pool in Bayonne (Bayonne school district)

Drowning never should have happened

The grieving family is awaiting the results of investigations by the city and school district, their attorney said.

Based on conversations Zaslow's team has had with "pre-eminent experts in lifeguarding and aquatic safety," he believes the drowning should never have happened.

"This is not a situation in which kids snuck into a closed pool in the middle of the night and somebody drowned. There were supposed to be three lifeguards on duty. It is impossible to come up with a situation in which two children die in a situation like this one when lifeguards are on duty," Zaslow said.

Zaslow said he could not address a report that the brothers were in a separate diving pool that was closed.

"We are not able to speak one way or the other on that because there are actually people telling two different discordant versions of whether that is accurate or not," Zaslow said, adding that there should be surveillance video that could answer the question of what really happened.

Zaslow is hoping a "fair, thorough investigation" will be able to determine what happened and then give everyone a chance to see what was done and what could have been done better that night.

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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