Originally published by Lake Expo https://bit.ly/2EtfyI7
LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo. — A 21-year-old man was killed on Sunday night when, according to authorities, he was electrocuted by a dock as he climbed out of the water.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol says at around 9 p.m. on June 21, Marcus Colburn, of East Moline, Ill., was swimming at a dock in Woods Hollow Cove, at the 22.2 Mile Marker when he and fellow swimmer Taylor Curley felt electricity in the water. The highway patrol reported Colburn tried to get out of the water by using the dock ladder, but when he did so, he was shocked and fell into the water face-down.
MSHP Corporal Scott White said when that happened, someone ran to the shore and shut off the power to the dock. White noted that individual’s actions likely saved Curley from being electrocuted as well.
The Osage Beach Fire Protection District said it was called to the scene at 9:15 p.m., and upon arrival, crews found CPR was being performed on Colburn. The rescue crew took over CPR and Colburn and Curley were both taken by ambulance to Lake Regional Hospital, according to the district.
Curley had minor injuries; Colburn was pronounced dead there at 10:14 p.m.
The fire district confirmed that electric service to the dock in question has been removed to ensure no other problems occur. The issue is still being investigated.
The electrocution comes on the heels of a decision by the Missouri Supreme Court that holds Ameren UE not liable for the electrocution of two children in the Lake in 2012. Following that incident, the children’s mother filed suit against Ameren, claiming the company was liable since it had permitted the dock on the Lake. The court rejected that argument, siding with Ameren; the company claimed it was immune from liability under a Missouri law that grants such immunity to property owners who allow the free, public use of their property for recreational purposes.
Electrocutions and dock safety have been a hot issue at the Lake in recent years, with at least five electrocution fatalities on the Lake since 2007, and a near-miss last summer that buzzed several swimmers near the 7 Mile Marker.
The challenge with this issue is that electricity can travel significant distances underwater: so a neighbor’s electrified dock 50 yards away could still be a hazard. According to Underwriter Laboratories, a global independent safety science company, electric current travels 2 feet per volt. The standard voltage for dock wiring is 120 volts. Using that formula, electric current can be felt as far away as 240 feet.