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Kayaker drowns after coming too close to swan

Anthony Hensley (center)

Anthony Hensley (center)

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Updated: April 16, 2012 6:45AM

Family and friends spent Sunday trying to understand how a Villa Park man drowned in a Des Plaines area pond after he was apparently attacked by swans he took care of.

Anthony Hensley, a 37-year-old married father of two, worked for a company that used swans and dogs to keep geese away from properties.

He was checking on the swans near the Bay Colony condominiums in unincorporated Des Plaines Saturday morning when one of the swans swam at him, causing Hensley to roll off his kayak into the water.

Cook County sheriff’s investigators believe Hensley either got too close to the swan or the swan’s nesting area.

According to witnesses, the swan continued to swim after Hensley as he tried to make it to shore. By the time rescue personnel arrived, Hensley was under water. An autopsy found he died from drowing.

Hensley liked working with animals, according to his father-in-law, George Koutsogiannis. “Maybe he didn’t fight back enough when the swan attacked him. Maybe he didn’t want to hurt the animal. I can’t understand how this was possible,” Koutsogiannis said.

Hensley died without life insurance, and a memorial fund has been established to help his family. Donations can be sent to Amy Hensley, c/o Steuerle Funeral Home, 350 S. Ardmore Ave. Villa Park, IL 60181. Visitation will be 3-8 p.m. Wednesday at the funeral home.

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