On August 1, 1999, 9-year-old Lucas Ritz jumped into the water off his family’s boat at Casselman’s Cove Marina in Portland, Oregon, to play with friends. Lucas was wearing a life jacket, and his mother kept a close eye on him. When he’d had enough swimming, Lucas approached the dock. As he was lifting himself out of the water, witnesses said they heard him let out a loud gasp and saw him roll over onto his back, apparently unconscious. His Type-II PFD kept his face out of the water, as it was designed to do.
Sheryl Ritz, his mother, yelled to the other kids to help him, and she jumped into the water. As the kids approached Lucas, they said they felt a tingling sensation and backed away. Sheryl’s extremities went numb, and she had difficulty moving. She did manage to get Lucas to the dock, and with the help of others got Lucas and herself out of the water. At this point, Kevin Ritz, Lucas’ father, came to the scene. They administered CPR until the paramedics arrived 15 minutes later. At 6:30 that evening, Lucas was pronounced dead.