Last week, authorities in Georgia said a man was killed by electric shock drowning after jumping off of a dock into Lake Lanier, the state’s largest lake, CBS News reported.
According to the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to Lake Lanier last Thursday around 5:30 pm after reports of a drowning. The victim, identified as 24-year-old Thomas Milner, was heard shouting for help shortly after jumping into the lake from his family’s dock.
Initially, a family friend tried and failed to use a ladder to help Milner out of the water. People from a neighboring property then reached Milner by boat and one of them jumped in to rescue him.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, the man described feeling the burning sensation of an electric shock, so he swam to the shore and turned off the power box before returning to the water when he ultimately pulled Milner back onto the dock.
While waiting for EMTs to arrive at the scene, Milner’s uncle performed CPR. Milner was then transported to a nearby hospital where he died the following day.
According to the Electric Shock Drowning Prevention Association, drowning by electric shock occurs when current leaks into the water, incapacitating the swimmer.
There is no official record of the total electric shock drownings since the death is typically labeled a common drowning unless there are witnesses who report a shock in the water.
In 2016, a teenage girl was killed in an electric shock drowning on Lake Tuscaloosa in Alabama after the metal ladder on a dock conducted electricity into the water from a flooded lightswitch.
In 2017, two women also died from electric shock drownings in Lake Tuscaloosa.
According to the Electric Shock Drowning Prevention Association, electric shock drownings are considered a “silent killer” since there is no “visible warning” and no way to tell if the water around a dock, marina, or boat has become energized to “fatal levels of electricity.”