There were five tragic occurrences reported last month, in which youngsters were electrocuted while being engaged in recreational pursuits. The first involved an 11-year-old girl who was electrocuted in Florida while playing mini golf at a southwest Orange County time share. The child, Ashton Jojo, was electrocuted when she reached into a small pond, which had a fountain, to retrieve her golf ball at the Orange Lake Resort. Code-enforcement officers inspected the mini-golf “water feature” after the incident and found a number of possible electrical violations. Electrical breakers had apparently been improperly replaced. Ground-fault interrupter breakers are required for such water features that have submerged pumps. But it appears in this case that non-GFI breakers were used. Incidentally, GFI breakers are also required for hot tubs and swimming pools.
Four other children were killed in a pair of separate electrocution incidents at lakes in Tennessee and Missouri. Nathan Lynam, 11, and Noah Winstead, 10, who were swimming companions at Cherokee Lake, located outside Knoxville, were electrocuted on July 4th. It’s believed that a faulty houseboat electrical cord was the problem there. The boys had been swimming from one houseboat to another. Investigating officers believe that the metal of the boat was energized. The children were electrocuted when they touched the metal ladder to get in the boat.
Seven other people were also injured by the electricity in Cherokee Lake — four adults and three children — and were taken to area hospitals for medical attention. They were trying to help the two boys, and in doing so they put their own lives on the line. It appears there were serious problems with the marina’s electrical system. Tennessee state officials have given the marina 30 days to correct these problems. I understand there were some 20 electrical issues that needed corrective action.
Two other children, who were swimming in a Missouri lake, also were electrocuted on the holiday. Alexandra Anderson, 13, and his brother Brayden, 8, were killed while swimming near a private dock in the Lake of the Ozarks. There were a number of sources for the electricity at the dock. At press time, we had not learned exactly what caused these deaths.
Electricity can’t be seen and it can be destructive. It’s extremely important to have expert assistance when installing any type equipment at any location when water is involved. It’s also essential to maintain all systems properly after they are installed with scheduled maintenance and monitoring. It appears these five deaths could have been prevented.
Sources: ABC News and Orlando Sentinel
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