Electric shock drowning is something you may have never heard of until the past few days, as investigators piece together the final moments of two women in Northport after their bodies were found Saturday in Lake Tuscaloosa.
Authorities said they know electricity was running to the dock where the victims’ belongings were found, but they want to make it very clear that they’re still not positive what killed Shelly Darling, 34, and Elizabeth Whipple, 41.
The event occurs when a typically low-volt alternating current passes through the body and causes skeletal and muscular paralysis, meaning someone swimming can find themselves unable to move. It can, and often does, lead to drowning.
The possibility of this silent killer taking Darling and Whipple’s lives has spread heartache among those who knew the women. But it’s also spreading panic, especially for anyone active on Lake Tuscaloosa or any other body of water.
Premier Service Company said they’ve gotten a lot of calls about dock inspections, so they said they’ve been offering dock inspections for anyone concerned about their safety. If they find an area of concern, an electrical dock manager can come up with a plan for solving it.
“The thing that is most scary about it is most autopsies will not show that the person has been electrocuted when they drowned,” said Danielle Moeller with Premier Service Company. “So it’s kind of a silent killer.”
There are several types of electrical shock detection systems available for anyone who owns a marina or dock.