Widow of Illinois man attacked by swan files wrongful death lawsuit

The widow of an Illinois man who drowned in 2012 after being attacked by a swan filed a wrongful death lawsuit on Tuesday.

Anthony Hensley, 37, was attacked by a swan while kayaking in a retention pond at the Bay Colony condominium complex in Maine Township, Illinois in April 2012.

Hensley was reportedly attacked by a swan and at some point fell into the water. Hensley – who was wearing boots and heavy clothing – drowned before he could make it to land.

His death was ruled an accident.

Hensley’s widow field a wrongful death lawsuit Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court against the property management companies that owned and operated Bay Colony, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Hensley’s widow is seeking at least $50,000 in damages.

The Tribune said it reached out to the companies named in the suit, but did not hear back.

His widow’s lawsuit stated that the companies’ and the homeowners/condominium associations’ negligence caused her husband’s death.

The lawsuit contended that the companies “should have known the swans are strongly territorial with a dangerous propensity to attack,” and that they should be held liable for “knowingly keeping dangerous animals on the premises.”

Swans, known for being territorial and aggressive, are often used by property management to keep the population of geese from growing too large.

Hensley was a frequent visitor at the Bay Colony complex, where he was tasked with taking care of the swans. He often brought his kayak to feed and tend to the birds, the Chicago Tribune reported.  — FOX NEWS

24 Comments on Widow of Illinois man attacked by swan files wrongful death lawsuit

  1. “Hensley was a frequent visitor at the Bay Colony complex, where he was tasked with taking care of the swans.”
    Case dismissed. *gavel strike*

  2. Only $50K? I would think if she were truly going after a wrongful death charge, it would be much, much higher than that.

  3. The deceased was taking care of the birds by tending a low rent beer bar for them. That’s right – a swan dive.

  4. Is this woman serious? Every allegation in the suit disproves her claim(s).

    I’d be embarrassed to claim my 37 y.o. husband is only worth $50k.

  5. AA – didn’t see your comment. Further, shoot the atty who’ll take at least 33 1/3, rendering her hubs even less valuable.

  6. “wearing boots and heavy clothing”

    …and, I assume, no PFD. Not good.

    I was threatened by a mute swan years ago on a local wildlife lake while kayaking. Those things sound like Chinook ‘copters when they head across the water. I watched it making a bee line at me for about 100 yards, no indication it was going to stop. I raised my paddle into the air, ready to swat this huge bird, when it decided to back off. Damn swans need to chill and reduce the perceived size of their territories, sheesh!

    Since then, the state extirpated mute swans from that lake. I salute them. Nasty birds.

  7. Mass: Mute swan: 24 – 26 lbs, Black swan: 8.2 – 20 lbs, Whooper swan: 22 – 25 lbs
    Length: Mute swan: 4.1 – 5.6 ft., Black swan: 3.6 – 4.7 ft., Whooper swan: 4.6 – 5.4 ft.

    Impressive. Are they edible? Not that I want to eat one, I’m just asking.

  8. @Engelburka x 2: I’d be embarrassed to admit my husband was killed by a bird, too, if I were her.

    Although I must admit it was a fowl deed, indeed.


  9. I like Mute swans (long bendy necks). I helped a pair build a river coastline nest, while they were building it. They never attacked me. And their babies were very cute.

    If you can’t swim, stay the f away from water.

  10. This story makes no sense. Why was a “frequent visitor” to the housing complex “tasked” with caring for the birds? Was this his job or did he take it upon himself to feed the birds and whatnot?

  11. This guy had s death wish, one should not dress For 20 below when there is chance you may go for a swim! in
    this guy didn’t have the sense that God gave to a goose.


    Do REAL MEN know what to do during a swan attack? It’s pretty simple really.

    1. You grab ANYWHERE on its neck. That controls the animal.
    2. You grab 1 wing and fold it back to the closed position so it doesn’t sting you with its flap.
    3. Grab the other wing and close it.
    4 Pick the bird up around both wings and body. Hold the neck.

    Take the thing anywhere you want. IT’S A DAMN BIRD NOT A SHARK!

  13. @ MJA-
    Are swans edible? Friar Tuck thought so.
    “Swan’s breast oozing with gravy” was one of the more memorable lines he had in the 1991 Robin Hood film.

  14. There are still swans on the Flathead River just off Hwy. 200 in NW Montana. I wonder if they know something we don’t know that we’re going to have a mild Winter, we’ll see. Canada geese are bad enough but I know better than to mess around with swans, the damn things are mean and vicious.

  15. I guess it was his SWAN SONG while he was SWANNING AROUND in his kayak, singing SWANEE RiVER

    He was in a damn kayak, a piece of overpriced recycled lawn furniture? Seriously? That Swan had every right to defend itself. (I own a kayak. I hate it)

  16. I can swim, but I’m not great at it, so I don’t go on a lot of boats – and if I were to go on a boat I would have a life jacket and probably leave the heavy boots at home. Duh. And yeah, swans will try to kick your butt if they feel threatened but if that guy was “tasked” with caring for them then he knew what he was getting into, no?

  17. @flip:

    Since then, the state extirpated mute swans from that lake. I salute them. Nasty birds.

    @MJA, @flip – tasty birds. Yes, swan is not only edible but quite delicious. Something like goose, but better.

    But not as good as sautéed spotted owl.


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