Recent Quarry Deaths Highlight Trespassing Dangers
“Quarry” probably isn’t a word you hear very often. But after the deaths of two Tampa Bay area teenagers, it’s a word that is associated with danger this summer.
What is a Quarry?
A quarry is a dug-out area of land where materials, like minerals, sand, stone, or slate have been excavated from the ground. Once these sites are mined and abandoned, the pits often fill with water over time, creating a man-made lake. Quarries can be very deep, with some going farther than 50 feet down. Due to the inflow of groundwater, the water also remains very cold at all times, even in warmer temperatures.
Due to their depth and coldness, quarries are a dangerous place for swimmers. When someone is submerged in cold water, they may suffer from shock, cramping, or a gasping reflex which causes them to take in large quantities of water. Even a very strong swimmer can drown when if they experience sudden muscle weakness, shock, or panic. Hypothermia can also occur through prolonged exposure to cold water.
Other dangers can include:
- Steep drop-offs, where the water suddenly and unexpectedly becomes deeper
- Sharp rocks, glass, metals, or other materials
- Submerged equipment
- Submerged wire
- Industrial waste
- Unstable rocks and other structures
While injuries do occur through falls and other trauma, drowning causes most quarry deaths. According to statistics from the Mining Safety and Health Administration, the majority of victims are male, and many are under the age of 25.
In the recent deaths of the Tampa Bay teenagers, both were males, ages 18 and 17. The 18-year-old, a football player from King High School, died by drowning after becoming entangled in some thick plants. The other, who was from Largo, died while cliff diving in a quarry lake. However, his direct cause of death has not been specified. Both accidents occurred at different quarries in Marion County, which includes Ocala. In both cases, trespassing was likely involved. This complicates the liability of the situations, but does not make them any less tragic.
For adrenaline-craving teens (and adults, too!) a quarry might seem like the perfect spot for a swimming or diving adventure. But as these recent tragedies show, they aren’t worth the risk. Stick to safe, well-supervised swimming areas instead.
The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.