Freak accidents don’t occur often, but they definitely do occur. I mean, it’s kind of in the name after all. A Vancouver man recently got stuck in a McDonald’s drive-thru and lost his life in a “Final Destination” fluke. On that note, celebrities aren’t immune to freak accidents either. Even Reba McEntire found herself in quite the conundrum earlier this month. She and her team were visiting an old building when its rickety staircase collapsed. Luckily, no serious injuries were reported but the team did require a ladder rescue.
The New York Post recently reported on another freak accident. This South Carolina story involves a lawnmower, a creek, and an elderly man. Unfortunately, its conclusion also involves a drowning death. Here’s what happened.
When Mowing the Lawn Turns Deadly
88-year-old Daniel Lee Shaw just wanted to mow his lawn. He resided in Gaffney, South Carolina, and usually preferred the use of a sit-down zero-turn mower to a push one. This is a task the elderly man presumably performed hundreds of times prior. Unfortunately, something went seriously wrong this time. In a freak accident, the mower somehow ended up going too fast down a hill too steep. It tumbled down the hillside eventually landing itself and Shaw in the nearby creek. Here, the mower allegedly trapped Shaw underwater. Eventually, the elderly man succumbed to a drowning death.
Although reports do not detail how long Shaw stayed in the water, officials recovered his body just before 9 pm. Among these officials is Dennis Fowler, the Cherokee County Coroner. He gave a statement regarding the accident to their local Herald.
“He was discovered by family members at 8:50 p.m., who began searching for him after (he failed) to show up at his nearby residence.”
Officials did not note any foul play. Still, they launched a standard investigation and autopsy to provide the family with some answers.
How Common Are Lawnmower Accidents?
One attorney practice says lawnmower accidents are a lot more commonplace than you may think. Jacobs & Wallace, PLLC report that lawnmowers correlate with over 9,000 pediatric emergency room visits every year. This fact is also backed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Cuts and lacerations from the mower blades account for nearly 40 percent of all accidents. The engine and gas tanks also put people at risk for burns, because they stay hot long after operating the mower.
The American Journal of Emergency Medicine also reports some alarming statistics. Apparently, between 1990 and 2014 in the United States, 1641 back-over injuries occurred. Of these injuries, over 70% of them afflicted kids under five years old.
The law firm provided a shortlist of some safety practices to raise awareness and prevent more injury:
-Clear out yard debris to prevent the lawnmower from shooting out the items before you start.
-Never allow a child or anyone to ride on your lap while mowing.
-Choose mowers with safety features like handle-activated blades on a push mower or a ride-along feature that prevents mowing in reverse.