Black Man Pushed In Lake By Friend, Left Underwater For 10 Minutes: Lawyer

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A Louisiana family is seeking answers after their son nearly drowned in Lake D'Arbonne, KSLA reports.

Christopher “Chris” Gilbert was at a lakefront restaurant in Farmerville with a group of friends when the near-death experience occurred.

Gilbert's family and their lawyer, Claudia Payne, claim he was pushed into the lake and left underwater for nearly 10 minutes.

Payne said the friend group had initially told police and Gilbert's mom that he had fallen into the lake. However, an investigation found Gilbert was allegedly pushed into the water by a woman in the group, Payne said.

“In the legal field, we characterize things the way we see fit. Of course, they are saying horseplay. We are saying that it was a criminal intentional push into the lake," the lawyer said.

Following the incident, Gilbert was taken to Ochsner LSU Health for treatment.

“The doctor called us in and told me that at that time, he was brain dead and the rest of his organs were starting to fail. That we had 72 hours on the ECMO machine. It’s sort of like dialysis for the lungs and they had to put him on a ventilator," Gilbert's mom said of a call she received last month.

“I was devastated," she continued. "I felt like my life had ended in that moment. My son is aspiring to be a medical doctor, my son is going to be a medical doctor. He got his master's last year in biological science. He’s preparing for medical school so for this to have happened to him... I was just devastated.”

It's unclear why Gilbert was under the surface for so long. According to Payne, video from the incident shows a friend in the group attempted to go into the water, but a patron at a nearby restaurant eventually pulled Gilbert out.

Gilbert is currently responding cognitively but still can't speak.

“The amount of work that the machines are doing on his behalf is constant. His lungs are said to be at 20%. His status doesn’t really get better, it’s just different,” Payne said.

The family further claims the friend pushed Gilbert into the water knowing he couldn't swim. They are calling for an arrest to be made and for the restaurant owner to be held liable for not keeping Gilbert safe as a patron of their business.

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