Swan Attack Leads to Drowning of Ill. Man

An Illinois man has drowned after being attacked by a swan. Anthony Hensley had previously worked with the swans, and it is unclear as to what provoked one to attack him.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Hensley, a married father of two, worked for an organization in charge of removing geese from properties. Part of that work involved using geese and dogs in order to keep geese from nesting on sites.

While Hensley was at work on Sunday morning, a swan came at his kayak, knocking him into the water. Hensley was unable to get away from the persistent swan, which kept up its attack until he drowned. Rescuers found Hensley still submerged when they arrived.

Animal experts have speculated that Hensley got too close to the swan's nesting area. Unfortunately, Hensley was unable to defend himself. "Maybe he didn't fight back enough when the swan attacked him," his father-in-law George Koutsogiannis told the Sun-Times. "Maybe he didn't want to hurt the animal. I can't understand how this was possible."

The Chicago Tribune reports that there is no information about the swan that attacked Hensley or whether it is still free and alive at this point. It does, however, note that swans can weigh up to 30 pounds and have a wingspan of 8 feet wide. This would certainly have been enough to cover and drown a grown man.

"His kayak wasn't upside down, but it was like, upwards. You could see the tip of it," eyewitness Daniel Gamanov told CBS Chicago. "They probably thought that he was going too close to their eggs, and they were scared, and they just attacked him."

According to Hensley's father, Raymond, Anthony's daughters are very young and have not been told about their father's death. "They're too young. They just know their father is not here, and they don't know why. It's tragic for him to have to spend the last few moments like that. That's always my worst fear, drowning," he told CBS.

"He's going to be remembered as one of the most wonderful fathers in the world. A very good father, a very good husband… There wasn't a mean bone in his body," Raymond added.