Carmen Johnson loved the water. She loved to swim. On April 16, the 15-year-old went swimming in the lake behind her family home. She knew how to swim, but that day, something caused her to drown. Her parents are now speaking out about the tragic accident to warn other families about the potential dangers of swimming in a lake.
The incident that took Carmen’s life is known as shock drowning. It can happen when a current spreads through the water, often from a short circuit in the wiring of boats or in a dock. When this current spreads, anyone who is in the water will be electrocuted and end up drowning.
After Carmen dove into the lake, her father realized she didn’t put the ladder in the water. He lowered the ladder, with no idea that it carried an electric charge from a faulty light switch.
Carmen’s father, Jimmy Johnson recalled, “I was in a position where I could have saved her, if it would have been anything but electrocution in the water. It was instant. It just grabbed hold of me.” He jumped into the water so save her, but he started blacking out from electric shock.
Carmen’s father said that both of his sons – Zach and Jimmy – also jumped into the lake to save Carmen, but they too almost died. Carmen’s brother Zach said, “It felt like your leg is asleep and it hurts to move, and you can’t move, but it’s your entire body. And you’re trying to tread water but can’t swim.”
Zach, Jimmy and Carmen’s father survived after the main power switch was turned off, but Carmen was electrocuted instantly and drowned. Carmen’s parents pointed out that local laws never really require the inspection of faulty electric lines. They are calling for a change in terms of safety standards and sharing their tragedy in hopes of warning other parents about the dangers of shock drowning.
How To Prevent Electric Shock Drowning
According to The Electric Shock Drowning Prevention Association, there are several ways to help prevent the tragedy from happening to a family member or a loved one:
- Never swim in or near marinas, docks or boatyards.
- Tell others about the danger of electric shock drowning.
- If you are a boat owner, have your boat inspected by an electrician.
- Talk to Marina owners or operators about the dangers of electric shock drowning.