The quick response of a his brother-in-law and a Hancock County deputy may have saved the life of a camper at McLeod Park in Hancock County on Sunday.
Jeremy Morgan, 27, an “American Ninja Warrior” competitor who was set to leave for Las Vegas next week for the competition, was camping with his wife, Tiffany, their two children, and Jeremy’s sister, Remi Sanchez, and her family, husband Cory and 1-year-old son Vandt, at the park campground.
Morgan is a worship leader at River of Life Tabernacle in Lucedale. He and his family live in Pass Christian.
Cory Sanchez said he had strung up some lights using a metal cable on the RV that he had used at his house in New Orleans.
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When they set up camp, he’d also rigged up a misting hose for his son to play in.
“My son was walking and then he slowly laid down and was in the fetal position facing away from us,” Sanchez said, “like he was going to take a nap. But he was in a puddle of water, so my wife went over to pick him up and he screamed in terror.
“We thought it was a seizure.”
Sanchez said his wife started looking around the area where her son had been to see if he had been bitten by a snake or ants. When she touched the water, she got a shock, “like an electric fence,” Sanchez said.
He immediately unplugged the lights.
“One of the ends of the cable was laying in the water and even though it was disconnected, it still had a charge,” Sanchez said. He decided to err on the side of caution, so he and Morgan began to cut the lights down from the trees where they had been strung up.
“We started on opposite ends, but when we got where we were meeting, we had our backs to each other. The line must have still been in the water. Jeremy had his hands up and the line went to his chest and he went down. The line hit me on the shoulder. Our wives thought we were playing, but when they saw us shaking, they grabbed me and pulled me out. It was wrapped under Jeremy’s arms and in his hands. Then the rest of the line came down and hit me again.”
I know it’s crazy, but I believe that boat broke down there for a reason.
Hancock County Chief Deputy Don Bass
His wife and sister-in-law pulled him out from the electrified line a second time and Sanchez tried to get his brother-in-law out.
“He was getting shocked the whole time,” Sanchez said. “He was foaming at the mouth.”
By that time, a fellow camper, William Allingood, had tripped the breaker, cutting power and stopping the shock. Sanchez pulled Morgan out from the line and started CPR, calling for someone to call 911.
He said he had been talking to clients just that week about CPR and one of his clients told him that the recommendation was not to do respiration, just chest compressions, so that’s what he did, resuscitating Morgan three times.
“I was exhausted and someone asked if I wanted them to take over, but I didn’t know them and I didn’t want to put Jeremy’s life in their hands,” Sanchez said. “Then another guy came up and said, ‘Let me take over — I’m a Marine.’ ”
Hancock Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Don Bass said Deputy Aric Latschar was on marine patrol when his 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.,he got the call about a camper who was shocked and went into cardiac arrest.
Latschar began CPR on Morgan and resuscitated again before AMR responded and stabilized him, Bass said. Morgan was airlifted to University of New Orleans Medical Center.
“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 on Sunday. By Monday afternoon, Morgan’s intubation tube was removed, he was awake and talking. There were no open wounds, said his father, Mark Morgan, just some areas that looked like road rash where the electrified cable hit him.
Morgan competed in 2014 season of “American Ninja Warrior” and qualified in 2015. He was set to return to the obstacle course next week, said his father, Mark Morgan.
Sanchez, his wife Remi and Vandt all were taken to Hancock Medical Center for treatment of electric shock. Remi Sanchez, who is 9 weeks pregnant, was shocked trying to pull her husband away from the cable. All three are fine, Sanchez said, if a little sore.
The accident is under investigation.