Tag Archives: Tom Griffiths

High School Student Drowns on River Rafting Trip

River Rafting Expert Witness

Tom Griffiths, Ed.D., Aquatic Safety Expert ::::

Case Synopsis: A high school Senior participated on a Senior class rafting trip approximately two hours away from the school. Because he was a non-swimmer his father refused to sign the permission slip to go on the field trip. The victim wanted to go badly because his friends were going, so he forged his father’s signature and as a result, the school allowed him to attend. Although the weather was sunny and warm, the river was extremely high and fast due to heavy rains earlier in the week. All six participants in the victim’s raft removed their lifejackets shortly after launching. Soon after removing their lifejackets, the raft rode up the face of a large standing wave and all six students were ejected into the raging river. All students managed to get to shore safely except for the victim who was found dead several days later. The cause of his death was drowning.

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Autism and Drowning: Seven Year Old Child Drowns in Above Ground Swimming Pool

Swimming Pool Accident

Tom J. Griffiths, Ed. D, Aquatics Expert ::::

According to the National Autism Association, from 2009 to 2011, accidental drowning accounted for 91% of total U.S. deaths in children with autism ages 14 and younger subsequent to wandering, and these are only the ones we know of. Of those, 23% were in the care of someone other than a parent.

In a recent drowning case involving a seven year old autistic girl, while the mother was doing errands away from their home, the young child wandered away while under the supervision of her three minor siblings. This was not her first time wandering from her home. Somehow she managed to find an above-ground swimming pool in her neighborhood located deep in the private backyard of a home which was extremely difficult, if not impossible, to observe from the street. The backyard was totally fenced in, toys were removed from the surface of the pool water so as not to attract anyone, the pool was not attached to the house, and the ladder was removed from the pool.

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Alcohol as Contributing Factor in Catastrophic Diving Accident

Diving Accident

Tom Griffiths, ED.D., Aquatics Consultant ::::

An all too common occurrence; a young adult becomes a quadriplegic while attending a late night pool party where alcohol was consumed. In this case, late at night and after consuming several drinks, the young man dives towards the transitional slope dividing the deep from the shallow end of the swimming pool. Since such a dive takes less than a second to complete, no one witnessed the dive that rendered the young man quadriplegic, which is most often true in these cases.

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