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IL Man Drowns in Swan Attack

By Andrew Chow, Esq. | Last updated on

An Illinois man who worked as a swan caretaker drowned after being attacked by an aggressive swan, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Anthony Hensley, 37, of Villa Park, Ill., was in a kayak in a suburban condominium complex's pond, where he was checking on a group of swans Saturday morning.

Unexpectedly, one of the swans attacked Hensley, who fell out of his kayak and into the water. The swan continued to chase Hensley as he struggled -- and failed -- to swim to shore, witnesses said.

Anthony Hensley, a married father of two, was a good swimmer, his distraught father told Chicago's WBBM-TV. But Hensley was fully clothed and wearing heavy boots, which likely weighed him down in his swan attack drowning.

Witnesses saw Hensley come up for air at least once after his kayak tipped over. But he disappeared underwater; rescuers pulled his body from the pond more than 30 minutes later.

"Maybe he didn't fight back enough when the swan attacked him. Maybe he didn't want to hurt the animal," Hensley's father-in-law told the Sun-Times. "I can't understand how this was possible."

Anthony Hensley's drowning occurred as he was working for a company that uses swans to keep geese away from properties, the Sun-Times reports.

Because Hensley was on the job when he died, that could possibly make the company -- which news reports did not identify -- liable in a potential wrongful death lawsuit. To win such a suit, Hensley's survivors would need to show the company's negligence somehow caused his death.

Perhaps, for example, the company may have been negligent in requiring Hensley to wear heavy clothing, which was arguably inappropriate for his job and caused him to drown. So far, however, no negligence claims have been asserted.

Police say Anthony Hensley drowned in a swan attack after he got too close to the swans or their nest. Hensley's family is asking for donations in his memory.

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