The quick response of a Hancock County deputy may have saved the life of a camper at McLeod Park in Hancock County on Sunday, an official said.
Hancock Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Don Bass said Deputy Aric Latschar was on marine patrol this weekend when his patrol boat broke down. He pulled into McLeod State Park to wait on a part to fix the boat.
Not long after, about 12:30 p.m., a camper was shocked and went into cardiac arrest.
A light that was used the night before still had power to it when Jeremy Morgan, 27, grabbed it and was shocked. The force of electricity knocked him backward, Bass said, and he fell on the power line, which continued to shock him.
Another camper, William Allingood, heard yelling and flipped the breakers to kill the electricity.
Latschar began CPR on Morgan and resuscitated him six times before AMR responded and stabilized him, Bass said. Morgan was airlifted to University of New Orleans Medical Center in New Orleans.
I know it’s crazy, but I believe that boat broke down there for a reason.
Hancock County Chief Deputy Don Bass
“He went into cardiac arrest about six times waiting on AMR,” Bass said. “The deputy was in water, fire ants were biting him and he just kept on with the CPR. When AMR got there, they were able to stabilize him.
“I know it’s crazy, but I believe that boat broke down there for a reason. He could just as easily have been 10 minutes out patrolling on the Jourdan River.”
Bass said Morgan was put into a medically induced coma to allow him to heal, but his prognosis is good. McLeod Park Manager Kevin Ladner said he was told that Morgan was awake and talking Monday afternoon.
In addition to Morgan, a child who was camping with him was shocked when the child touched a bucket of water. The child was taken to Hancock Medical Center for treatment. Another camper who helped get Morgan off the wire also was shocked, but he was OK, Bass said.
“It was an unfortunate accident,” Ladner told the Sea Coast Echo. “We are praying for the family.”
Ladner told the Echo that the park remained open because “this was an isolated incident” and no other campers were in danger.
The accident is under investigation.