Electrical shortage in hotel swimming pool kills American student in Guatemala, injures his sister

U.S. & World News

Seth and Emma Washam

An incoming college freshman died last week in Guatemala after an electrical shortage occurred while he was in the hotel pool, according to the university he was slated to attend.

Seth Washam, 18, was on a “short trip” to Guatemala with his sister, Emma Washam, when the accident occurred on Friday, according to a statement from the Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, Tennessee.

Emma Washam, 19, who is a rising junior at the school, was also injured. The extent of her injuries is unclear.

The siblings were in Guatemala for an academic study, according to a Facebook post by Christian nonprofit A Hand Up For Women. Their father, Shannon Washum, arrived in the country on July 14 to join them and is now attending to his daughter as she receives medical treatment, according to the organization.

The U.S. Department of State is aware of the reports of the death of an American in Guatemala, a spokesperson said in a statement.

“We offer our sincerest condolences to the family on their loss,” the spokesperson said. “We are closely monitoring local authorities’ investigation into the cause of death. We stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance. Out of respect for the family during this difficult time, we have no further comment.”

Both Washam parents are alumni of the university, according to school officials.

“The prayers of our entire campus community is that God will be a refuge and an ever present help to the Washam family at this time,” said Carson-Newman President Charles A. Fowler in a statement. “For Shannon, Jean-Ann and Emma, we pray for God’s comfort and a peace that surpasses all understanding.”

The university has set up a donation page to benefit the family.

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