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Ashland mother testifies for dock safety bill

(Missourinet) A mid-Missouri woman who tragically lost two of her children while swimming on the Lake of the Ozarks wants the state legislature to enact policies that could prevent electrical shock drownings.

On July 4, 2012, Angela Anderson says her children, Brayden and Alexandra, were enjoying the lake like they had many times. After swimming for about 10 or 15 minutes, Anderson heard the most horrific scream that she says still haunts her at night.

“And both of my children were dead. That quickly,” she says.

They died after being shocked by power running to a dock they were swimming near. Anderson, of Ashland, says lawmakers must improve safety standards at boat docks and marinas.

“There have been more electrocution-related deaths at the Lake of the Ozarks alone, than any other single state combined. There have been more electrical shock near misses on the Lake of the Ozarks than any other single state,” says Anderson.

Since 2015, four people have died at the lake from electric shock drowning. Anderson blames Ameren for failing to fix the safety issues.

“The Lake of the Ozarks is owned by Ameren. Ameren, not unable, but unwilling, to provide protection and safety for citizens and tourists of this state. That is what is taking place,” says Anderson. “It is killing people. It is nothing less than voluntary manslaughter.”

Jake Hummel (D-St. Louis) is sponsoring a bill that he hopes will avoid such future tragedies. Hummel says there are more than 20,000 docks at the lake – about 20% of those meet safety requirements like Ameren’s.

The proposal would require:

*New docks and those changing ownership to have safety inspections and meet new standards

*No swimming policies around docks

*All Highway Patrol boats to have defibrillators

If the measures are not followed, the legislation calls for fines and jail time.

During a hearing Thursday, there was no opposition to the bill.

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