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US Siblings' Swim During Guatemala Trip Turns Fatal

Tennessee teen dead, his sister injured after electrical short in hotel pool
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 22, 2019 10:25 AM CDT
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/katatonia82)

(Newser) – A trip to Guatemala turned tragic for a pair of Tennessee siblings Friday when, as they were swimming in their hotel pool, an electrical short occurred, killing one and injuring the other. Seth Washam, 18, who was killed, was slated to attend Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, Tenn., in the fall; his sister Emma Washam, 19, will be a junior at the school. The extent of her injuries isn't clear, ABC News reports. The teens' father, Shannon Washam, had just joined them in Guatemala on July 14. A post on the Facebook page of the Knoxville nonprofit A Hand Up for Women asks for prayers for Shannon, his wife, and Emma; it describes Shannon as the director of Knoxville's Western Heights Baptist Center.

"Seth and Emma had been in Guatemala on an academic study program and Shannon had just arrived in Guatemala this past Sunday to join them for a week of vacation and touring," the post says. "While we do not have all the details of the accident, we do know that it occurred due to an electrical wire in a swimming pool. Emma was also injured in the accident and is receiving medical attention in Guatemala. Shannon is there with Emma trying to work out arrangements for her medical attention as well as necessary arrangements for everyone's return." Carson-Newman University has set up a donation page to raise money for the family. (A similarly horrifying incident killed five at a water park.)

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