Swans linked to death but pay attention to missing detail

Swan linked to suburban Chicago man’s drowning.

Officials say an aggressive swan may have contributed to the death of a suburban Chicago kayaker who drowned.

Anthony Hensley of Villa Park was pulled from a pond at a Des Plaines area condominium complex Saturday morning. The medical examiner’s office ruled his death an accident.

Cook County sheriff’s spokesman Frank Bilecki says the 37-year-old, an experienced kayaker, may have paddled too close to a nesting swan as he checked on the birds.

Tip: @WeirdNews

Here is another story about this.

In neither report is it clear that swans actually attacked. Observers only seemed to notice after the fact. [please post other links if you find this is not true.] Also, he drowned. The swans did not cause his death. Kayaks tip over easily. Heavy clothing or boots could have prevented him from swimming to shore. Watch news stories for details that aren’t mentioned, just assumed. And causes are not direct but a result of several factors that all added up to a tragedy.

The media latched on, once again, to this story and other outlets got a bit crazy. Heard this on the morning radio Weird News segment, for example.

On a side note, swans are mean and will defend their territory, so to be attacked is certainly NOT unusual. Maybe it’s not such a bad thing to warn people about them.

UPDATE: This piece DOES have more information.

“They just attacked him,” said Gamanov.

Gamanov was awakened by a witness pounding on his window, screaming for someone to call police.

By the time he looked out, he could see the kayak, but not Hensley.

Witnesses say Hensley came up at least once after he initially fell into the pond, but by the time police were finally able to pull him out, more than half an hour had passed.

According to his father, Hensley was a good swimmer, but he ended up in the water clothed and wearing boots. To make the situation worse, police say the swans continued to swim at Hensley as he tried to make it to shore.

  2 comments for “Swans linked to death but pay attention to missing detail

  1. Mac
    April 18, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    Read this one when it hit the news wire.

    Hmm…experienced kayaker that doesn’t know how to do an Eskimo roll to right the craft? Water not deep enough to roll, but not stand up? Nest probably not in deep water, possibly young paddling in deep water?

    An experienced kayaker would typically be able to handle high class rapids, but be befuddled by a large fowl while he’s holding a 2 meter long paddle.

    I’m thinking there’s more to the story…

  2. Britt
    April 18, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    In this case I can believe that a swan at least *contributed* to what ever issue this guy had. We’ve had them at our complex every year for decades and they very aggressively attack anyone who gets within a few feet of them regardless of nest location. They’re very mean foul. Furthermore, living in the area where this man died – we have these ponds everywhere – they’re FULL of natural and garbage debris, plenty of crap for a boot or pant leg to get snagged in even in fairly shallow water.

    Ultimately it’s an unfortunate accident. One that has happened more than once in the past. I’m surprised it made it onto Weird News…there are far more bizarre things that happen in the Chicago area…

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