A 13-year-old Louisiana girl was killed in an electric-shock accident Sunday afternoon on Lake Bruin that authorities believe occurred when a boat lift malfunctioned.
Sarah Grace Tellifero was the daughter of Jon Tellifero, pastor of First United Methodist Church of West Monroe. She was part of a group of students traveling with the church’s youth group on an outing.
Tensas Parish Sheriff Rickey Jones told thenewsstar.com that Tellifero and Christina Elizarov were swimming with a group of teens when they were apparently shocked while attempting to get out of the lake.
Tellifero, was airlifted to Madison Parish Hospital, where she later died. Elizarov remained hospitalized Monday while counselors supported students at Ouachita Parish schools after the accident.
Jones said it appears that the girls were using a ladder on a pontoon boat to climb out of the water. Initial reports indicate that a malfunction in the lift mechanism on the boat resulted in an electric charge to the ladder.
"Evidently the motor shorted or there was a malfunction with the motor and it made the boat a conductor," Jones told MyArkLaMiss.com.
The sheriff's department recently learned that this incident is not the first time swimmers have been shocked at Lake Bruin.
"A camp owner says some of their kids were swimming and they felt a tingling when they jumped in the water. They found out it was a similar situation where there was a problem with the motor of the boat lift," Jones said.
The sheriff said a ground fault interrupter may have kept the swimmer from being shocked.
"It acts as a breaker. It breaks the current so something like this doesn't happen. Hopefully something good will come out of this and it won’t be duplicated," Jones said.