(BUTLER COUNTY, Kan.) — A Kansas sheriff calls it a bizarre and tragic accident. It happened about 7 miles south of Augusta in Butler County Friday evening; a nine year old filling up a wading pool is electrocuted by nearby machinery.
Experts say the story of Zacharias Nelson is more common than you think.
It happened just steps away from Zachariah Nelson's Butler County home.
The nine year old filled up his wading pool Friday evening. He walked back across the yard, in his soaking black sneakers, to turn off the water. His ankle came in contact with a metal well head cover -- and he was electrocuted.
He died steps away from his home.
"I think it's tragic that I think he touched this energized water well with his feet being wet," said Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet, "it sent a volt of electricity through his body."
The metal well-head cover had four wires (red, white, green, and black) in it -- but only three were connected.
"Unfortunately, I won't say this is common," said Dan Ingalls, an electrician and manager of Butler County Buildings and Grounds, "but it does happen."
The green one keeps it grounded, and safe. In Nelson's case, the green one wasn't connected.
So when the blonde boy with a missing tooth and winner of his school's citizenship award made contact with that electrified metal cover, he had 220 volts surging through his body.
"It's a tragic accident, what occurred here," said Sheriff Herzet. "And I think the family wants people to know that people can learn from this."
Ingalls agreed; "if we even get one person to call their electrician to come out and look at this, and if they have this same situation, and if it gets corrected now - that's what we're after." Ingalls recommends calling an electrician to do it; do not do it yourself. It may cost $100, but Ingalls said it is worth it -- especially when you consider what else it could cost.