The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has opened an investigation into Saturday's drowning of 37-year-old Villa Park resident Anthony Hensley near Des Plaines, in which an attack by an aggressive swan is believed to have played a role.
Hensley worked for North Barrington-based Knox Swan and Dog LLC, which is in the business of supplying swans to keep geese away from ponds and lakes in housing complexes, corporate parks, municipal grounds and other properties.
Cook County sheriff's police said Hensley apparently was using a kayak to check on the swans at a pond at the Bay Colony Condominiums near Des Plaines Saturday morning when an attack by one of the birds caused him to fall into the water and drown.
OSHA spokesman Scott Allen said the agency has jurisdiction to investigate any workplace fatality and that Hensley's death is considered work-related.
"We'll look for possible safety and health violations by the employer," Allen said.
Calls seeking comment from Knox Swan and Dog on Monday and Tuesday were not returned.
Allen said one of the things the OSHA investigation will seek to determine is whether Hensley was wearing a life jacket, and if not, why not.
Cook County sheriff's police spokesman Frank Bilecki said an eyewitness called for help at about 7 a.m. Saturday after seeing Hensley drop underwater while trying to swim to shore. Though no one has come forward to report seeing the swan attack Hensley, eyewitnesses said the bird was circling near him after he was already in the water, Bilecki said.
Charles Emery, a family friend of Hensley, said the Villa Park man had worked for Knox Swan and Dog for 10 years and loved the outdoors-related job.
Hensley is survived by his wife of seven years, Amy, and their 18-month-old and 3-year-old daughters.
Because Hensley died without life insurance, donations are being sought for the family through Steuerle Funeral Home, 350 S. Ardmore Ave., Villa Park IL 60181. The visitation will take place there from 2 to 8 p.m. Wednesday and funeral services will begin at 11 a.m. Thursday.
OSHA: Investigation seeks to determine if man was wearing life jacket