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South Florida Museum admits Snooty's death was avoidable

BRADENTON, FL (WWSB) - The South Florida Museum is taking responsibility for the death of their most famous resident, Snooty the manatee.

At a press conference inside the museum Thursday, CEO Brynne Anne Besio and others revealed the results of an extensive third-party review, which found a critical oversight.

Snooty drowned on July 23 after swimming into an access tunnel in his tank, after the panel blocking the tunnel fell off. The panel hadn't been removed in five years prior to the accident.

According to the report, aquarium staff were aware the panel was askew, or that screws were missing, on July 16, a week before Snooty's accident. Due to "breakdowns in record keeping, reporting, communication and follow through... no action resulting in an effective repair was taken" the report states.

"On behalf of the museum, I apologize for those mistakes," Besio said in a press release.

The museum says the information has led to changes in staffing. Museum spokeswoman Jessica Schubick confirmed to the AP that Marilyn Margold, the aquarium's director when Snooty died, no longer works for the museum. 

The South Florida Museum is hosting a free Snooty Memorial Open House from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 10.