A dive into a canal for a Nerf football Thursday afternoon resulted in the deaths of a North Fort Myers teenager and a friend who tried to save him, authorities said.
The boys were electrocuted when they touched a boat lift, sending them into cardiac arrest. They died at Cape Coral Hospital.
“The kids are both over here all the time playing,” said Ray D’Elosua, a neighbor. “It’s just a real sad state of affairs.”
D’Elosua identified the teens as Alex Hale and Doug Brandenburg Jr., though authorities said they would not confirm their identities until today.
Lee County sheriff’s Sgt. Kim Falk said the lift, part of a boat dock behind a house at 4347 S. Canal Circle, showed no visible signs of damage or wires extending into the water.
About 5:53 p.m., neighbors said the boys, described as in their mid-teens, were jumping on a backyard trampoline when one spotted the football in the canal.
Brandenburg jumped in and screamed when he grabbed the electrified lift to pull himself from the water. Hale summoned nearby adults and then jumped into the water. As he pulled his friend to shore, he also touched the lift.
D’Elosua, 55, said neighbors and one of the boys’ parents used a ladder to help yank the two from the water and tried to resuscitate them until about a dozen paramedics and deputies arrived.
“At one point, I thought he was going to come out of it,” D’Elosua said of attempts to revive one of the teenagers.
Workers from Lee County Electric Cooperative shut off power to the lift, but were unable to determine if the accident was the result of faulty wiring or wear and tear, Falk said.
The homeowner, whose children are friends of the teenagers, was too upset to comment on the accident Thursday night, Falk said.
Neither of the boys reside at the house where the accident occurred.
“All around, it’s a tragedy,” Falk said. “Nobody or nothing to blame — it’s one of those awful things.”
Bryan P. Holland, ECO. Secretary - IAEI Florida Chapter
Hi Roger, Certainly makes you wonder. But in a situation like this, who really is responsible?. Is it the owner for having shoddy wiring or is it the authorities for not regularly checking an installation that is near water?.
[This message has been edited by Trumpy (edited 05-13-2003).]
Thanks Roger, "Falling through the cracks" seems to be a common term when an accident like this or any other that can't be blamed on anyone or thing. I would be hoping that this accident would help to close some of these large, gaping cracks!.