Commonwealth Journal

Local News

July 1, 2013

Laurel man saves son before being electrocuted during swim

Mishap occurs at Garland Bend

Burnside —

“I worked in EMS for 22 years, and I never saw it before.”
Those were the words of Pulaski County Coroner Chuck Godbey, describing the gruesome accident on Lake Cumberland this weekend that claimed the life of a Laurel County man — even as he helped save the life of his own child in the process.
Kevin Short, 34, of Lily, Ky., was killed by electrocu-tion after grabbing an aluminum ladder that had touched a charged wire while he was climbing out of the water.
The accident happened at around 5 p.m. on a private dock about eight miles out Garland Bend Road, in southern Pulaski County near Burnside.
Godbey said that an extension cord used to plug in a “fish finder” device at the dock had slipped behind the ladder and apparently rubbed up against a sharp rock, fraying the cord and exposing the insides.
“There was a bunch of bare wire that came into contact with the aluminum ladder,” said Godbey. “Water and electricity don’t go well together.”
That made it so the ladder itself was charged — and when Short touched it, he got shocked. 
“Once he grabbed it, it’s hard to turn loose because the muscles clench,” said Godbey. “He probably received a pretty good dose.”
Even though it was only a 110-volt cord, which wouldn’t normally be enough to fatally electrocute most people according to Godbey, being in the water intensified the effects on Short’s body.
“You can grab a 110-volt lamp cord and it might knock you down, but most of the time it won’t kill you,” said Godbey. “Do that in a bathtub, and it won’t be the same thing. 
Short was vacationing at the lake with his family present at the time of the accident. Short’s son was there in the water with him. Short actually kept the child away from the ladder to prevent the younger one from being electrocuted as well. As such, nobody else was significantly injured in the incident, said Godbey. (Others did receive some shock while trying to assist Short, however.)

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