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Drowning accident on private Pennsylvania lake raises questions

After a harsh winter, many Pennsylvanians are relishing the opportunity to take part in outdoor activities. For many people, being able to spend time out on a lake is the ideal form of recreation. Unfortunately, one couple's recent fishing trip took an unexpected, tragic turn.

According to reports, a man and woman were fishing on a private lake in eastern Pennsylvania that they had visited before. During their time on the water, the married couple's non-motorized boat capsized. As they tried to swim the watercraft back to the shore, the woman drowned in about eight feet of water.

Emergency service personnel responded to the scene that evening, but their recovery efforts were hampered by poor conditions in the lake. Not only was the water particularly murky, but the bottom of the lake was covered in debris, including tree stumps.

In the wake of this drowning accident, there are a number of issues that may need to be investigated. First of all, given that this was a man-made lake on private property, the property owner might come into play. If the owner allowed the couple onto his property, then he may have had a duty to adhere to basic safety measures.

One of the most concerning aspects of this case is that the bottom of the lake was littered with debris. Not only did this interfere with the recovery efforts, but it may have also played a role in the drowning incident. Keeping this in mind, were the tree stumps negligently dumped in the lake? Furthermore, did the property owner have a duty to maintain his property?

Of course, these are nuanced questions that will require specific knowledge and skills to properly address.

Source: New Castle News, "Latest Update: Rescuers reflect on woman's drowning," Nancy Lowry, April 24, 2014

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