The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

State & National News

July 18, 2013

Kayaker is 3rd 'dry drowning' in lake community this summer

LELAND, Mich. — The death of a kayaker in Lake Michigan this week was the third caused by "dry drowning" -- in which cold water closes off airways --  in the Grand Traverse region of northern Michigan this summer.

Robert J. Womac, 70, was kayaking with another man Tuesday when a large wave overtook them about 100 yards from shore, Leelanau County Sheriff Mike Borkovich told the Record-Eagle. He said a witness called 911 at about 4 p.m. and reported the kayak was upside-down and two victims were in the water.

Womac wasn't wearing a life preserver, but the other rider was, Borkovich said. The other rider told authorities the water was "glass calm" when they left from Womac's summer home, but winds soon whipped up 3-foot waves that capsized their kayak.

"It threw them about 20 feet from the boat when they went over," Borkovich said.

Medical Examiner Matthew Houghton said a postmortem exam performed Wednesday showed Womac’s likely cause of death was "laryngospastic dry drowning" — a reflex response triggered by exposure to cold water. Dry drowning victims show little or no water in their lungs.

"(They gulp) in water and it aggravates the epiglottis and closes off the breathing system," Houghton said.

Miles Percy Smith, 16, of Wyandotte, Mich., and Michael Anthony Michalski, 53, of Fife Lake, Mich., both died June 23 in separate incidents that were ruled dry drownings. Houghton said colder-than-normal water temperatures this summer explain the three dry drowning deaths: surface temperatures where Womac was found were 67 degrees.

"He was found in 11 feet of water," Houghton said. “The temperature drops about 1 degree a foot. Anything below 68 (degrees) can cause a laryngospasm."

---

Details for this story provided by the Traverse City (Mich.) Record-Eagle.

1
Text Only
State & National News
  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brother sues W.Va. senator over business loan

    FAIRMONT, W. Va. - U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin's brother claims he's owed $1.7 million that he loaned to keep a family carpet out of bankruptcy in the 1980s.

    July 28, 2014

  • CATS-DOGS281.jpg Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.-and all over the world

    We all know there are only two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. But data from market research firm Euromonitor suggest that these differences extend beyond individual preferences and to the realm of geopolitics: it turns out there are cat countries and dog countries, too.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • WORLD NEWS: Fast food comes to standstill in China

    BEIJING - The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

  • Facebook continues moneymaking trend

    WASHINGTON - Facebook seems to have figured out - for now at least - the holy grail for all media right now: how to make money selling mobile ads.

    July 25, 2014

  • Arizona's prolonged lethal injection is fourth in U.S. this year

    NEW YORK - Arizona's execution of double-murderer Joseph Wood marked the fourth time this year that a state failed to dispatch a convict efficiently, according to the Constitution Project, a bipartisan legal group.

    July 25, 2014

  • N.C. Energy Policy Council Long Range Energy Generation and Renewable Energy Committee to meet

    RALEIGH – The North Carolina Energy Policy Council’s Long Range Energy Generation and Renewable Energy Committee will meet via conference call at 9 a.m. July 31.

    July 24, 2014

  • N.C. State University Turfgrass Field Day set for Aug. 13

    N.C. State University’s annual Turfgrass Field Day will be held in Raleigh at the Lake Wheeler Turfgrass Research Lab, Aug. 13, 8:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. One of the largest events of its kind in the country, the field day offers the industry and general public a chance to view the Turfgrass Program’s ongoing research trials and speak directly with N.C. State faculty and staff.

    July 24, 2014

  • NCSU Study: Urban Heat Boosts Some Pest Populations 200-Fold, Killing Red Maples

                New research from North Carolina State University shows that urban “heat islands” are slowly killing red maples in the southeastern United States. One factor is that researchers have found warmer temperatures increase the number of young produced by the gloomy scale insect – a significant tree pest – by 300 percent, which in turn leads to 200 times more adult gloomy scales on urban trees.

    July 23, 2014

  • An oncologist uses scorpion venom to locate cancer cells

    Olson, a pediatric oncologist and research scientist in Seattle, has developed a compound he calls Tumor Paint. When injected into a cancer patient, it seems to light up all the malignant cells so surgeons can easily locate and excise them.

    July 22, 2014

House Ads
Seasonal Content