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Displaying items by tag: drowning

#drowning – The number of accidental drownings in the UK has fallen to its lowest level since records began.

There were a total of 338 water-related deaths from accidents or natural causes across the UK in 2014, according to a report published today by the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF).

That number, from statistics published by NWSF, has fallen from 381 in 2013, and is the lowest figure since data collection began in 1983.

The NWSF's Water Incident Database (WAID) breaks down drownings and other water-related deaths by activity, age and location type.

The highest proportion of those people who have lost their lives in 2014 did not intend to be in the water - the main activity being undertaken before they died was walking or running alongside water (138 deaths, predominantly in rivers and coastal water), while 36 people drowned while swimming in unsupervised places, the next leading cause.

Last year's figures show that, like previous years, males (271) are more likely to drown than females (71), with a higher number of deaths for males than females in every single age bracket recorded.

Men aged between 25-29 are a particular concern, with 29 dying in 2014. Children aged up to 19 account for just over one in 10 of all deaths (38), with 21 of those in the 15-19 age bracket.

July saw the biggest spike in the number of deaths (43, up from 20 in June and 29 in August), while January was also a problem month, with 38 people killed.

George Rawlinson, chairman of the NWSF, said: "It's really positive that we're starting to see a decline in the numbers of accidental drownings but any loss of life is tragic and there's more that we can do to reduce these figures further. WAID provides vital insight that helps interested groups shape interventions to protect those people most at risk.

"The NWSF and their respective organisations work tirelessly to promote education and water safety and together are now developing a strategy that could be adopted nationally; this will provide an important framework for identifying how improvements in safety and education could be made to tackle this problem.

Published in Water Safety
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#Zillah - Lack of seafaring experience and the absence of a VHF radio or other means of contact compounded a tragic situation that led to the death of a retired teacher after the capsize of his dinghy off West Cork last summer, according to the official investigation into the incident.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, an inquest into the capsize of the Drascombe Lugger Zillah returned a verdict of accidental death in the case of 66-year-old Douglas Perrin, who drowned after his vessel overturned and sent him and two companions into the water off Castle Island near Schull on the evening of 13 August last.

The court heard that guests Marian Brown and Patrick Anwyl, neither experienced sailors, were taking turns at the helm under the supervision of Perrin, a sailing instructor for more some 30 years, when the boat overturned in gusty weather.

As the report by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) outlines, it was found that the boat - built before the Recreational Craft Directive requirement and of a type known to have stability issues in certain conditions – gybed suddenly on the approach to the Amelia Buoy at the Schull Harbour entrance, taking all three by surprise.

The vessel quickly turned turtle, with its centreplate retracting into the stowed position, and the guests managed to clamber onto the upturned hull with Perrin in the water beside them.

However, they did not have a VHF radio or EPIRB-type beacon on the vessel, and there were no other boats in the vicinity to witness the incident not spot the casualties and attempt rescue.

Despite the mild water temperature, none of the three were wearing more than light summer clothes with their PFDs, and Perrin spoke of feeling cold within 30 minutes.

After the three attempted to swim some 50 metres to nearby rocks on Castle Island, Perrin was separated from his guests, who later saw him drifting past the island making no effort to swim but with his head above the waves.

It was many hours later into the following day, after an alert by Perrin's wife who had been expecting the group's return, that Brown and Anwyl were located and rescued by emergency responders. The body of Perrin was found a short time later off Sherkin Island.

The MCIB found that the guests' lack of sailing experience "meant that they did not react correctly to the developing situation" when the boat suddenly gybed.

Moreover, the lack of a radio, which would have immediately alerted any number of vessels in the nearby Schull area as well as emergency teams, would have likely seen all three rescued in a matter of minutes.

It's also possible that had their PFDs been fitted with lights and whistles, the guests may have been spotted sooner by search and rescue crews.

The full report into the Zillah incident by the MCIB, including its safety recommendations, is available to download HERE.

Published in MCIB

#Drowning - The Irish Times names the two Irishmen who died off the Greek island of Crete last week as John James Lynch and Kevin Eugene Devine.

Lynch (45) and Devine (46), who are thought to be from Co Louth, drowned off Mavros Molos on Kissamos Bay on Friday 29 August after entering the water to swim despite the beach being red flagged to bathers.

Surfers in the vicinity went the aid of the men when they were spotted in difficulties, but they were reportedly dead when brought back to the shore.

It's understood that the beach lifeguard had gone off duty a short time before the Irishmen entered the water.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update
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#Drowning - TheJournal.ie reports that two Irishmen died from drowning on the Greek island of Crete in an incident on Friday (29 August).

The two men are thought to be in their 40s and were holidaying on the Mediterranean island. Consular assistance is being provided to their families.

Published in News Update
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#Drowning - Tributes have been paid to two nuns who died after getting into difficulty at Inch Beach on the Dingle Peninsula yesterday (Thursday 14 August).

Sr Paula Buckley and Sr Imelda Carew, both from Dublin, were two of three Presentation sisters who were holidaying on the peninsula when tragedy struck yesterday evening.

It is as yet unclear what happened, according to The Irish Times, which says the women were close to the shore and standing in shallow water in calm conditions when they were last seen by their companion from the beach.

Dingle gardaí have confirmed they are investigating the women's "sudden deaths". The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update
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#Drowning - The death of a 68-year-old man who drowned while apparently attempting to remove Irish tricolour flags from an island in a Co Armagh pond has sparked new political tensions in Northern Ireland.

According to RTÉ News, Oswald Bradley died after getting into difficulty while swimming in Bessbrook Pond, near Newry, yesterday evening (Monday 28 July).

UTV LIve quotes local SDLP politician Dominic Bradley who, while expressing his condolences, said: "It would appear that the man attempted to swim across Bessbrook Pond with the intention of removing two Tricolour flags that had been placed on an island there and replace them with a Union flag."

Meanwhile, fellow MLA Danny Kennedy of the UUP said the deceased was "highly respected and liked within the Bessbrook community. I counted him as a personal friend and I am deeply upset by his untimely and tragic death."

UTV Live has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update
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#safetyonthewater – Irish Water Safety (IWS) has appealed to the public to stay vigilant around water and not to become another drowning statistic. This appeal comes in the wake of IWS drowning statistics for 2013 which recorded 91 drownings, the lowest for 78 years.

Following a particularly hot two weeks in July 2013 during which thirteen tragically drowned, IWS noted a marked decrease in the number of tragedies during the rest of the summer period as the public adjusted their behaviours and attitudes to staying safe. This resulted in an overall total drowning figure of 91 for 2013, the lowest since 1936 when 73 people drowned.

Males were particularly at risk, accounting for 75% of drownings in 2013. Half of all those who drowned were adults aged 30-59. An extract from Irish Water Safety's 2013 Annual Report notes that the highest figure recorded in any one year to date is 235 in 1983. There was an average of 135 drownings each year in the decade to 2013.

Extracts from Irish Water Safety's analysis reveals that*:
60% were accidents, 20% suicides and 20% undetermined (55,19,17)
53% of drownings were aged 30-59 (48); 16% of drownings were aged under 29 (16)
75% of all drownings were male (69)
60% of total male & female drownings were accidental (42 of 69 & 13 of 22)
14% of female drownings were suicide (3); 23% of male drownings were suicide (16)
In the 1970's, we averaged 91 accidental drownings each year. We ended the 00's averaging 55. In the decade to 2013, the figure dropped to 51.
In the 1980's we averaged 207 total drownings each year. We ended the 00's averaging 150. In the decade to 2013, the figure dropped to 135.
Complacency is not an option for anybody as the statistics frighteningly reveal. Although 75% of total accidental drownings were male, the adage 'boys will be boys' is muted by the fact that the vast majority of drownings were not boys at all but grown men - 53% aged 30-59, compared to 16% aged under 29."

It only takes seconds for tragedy to strike and this can so easily be avoided if people take responsibility for their own safety by taking note of the following in advance of any trip:
Swim at Lifeguarded waterways - http://www.iws.ie/bathing-areas-page.html
If there is no Lifeguarded waterway nearby then swim at a recognized, traditional bathing area
Swim within your depth - stay within your depth;
Use local knowledge to determine local hazards and safest areas to swim;
Ensure that ringbuoys are present;
Make sure that the edges are shallow shelving so that you can safely and easily enter and exit;
Only drink alcohol after your aquatic activity has ended. Stay Away From The Edge after you consume alcohol.
Never use inflatable toys at beaches, rivers or lakes.

Published in Water Safety
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#watersafety – Hot weather often lulls people into a false sense of security that will place lives at risk this weekend at beaches, rivers and lakes. Knowing the dangers will reduce the chance of drowning tragedies that average five per fortnight.

Rip-Currents - the tidal influence of a full moon on Friday 13th June will cause stronger than normal rip currents this weekend. It will be the first outdoor swim of the year for many people unaware of the dangers of swimming in open water. To escape a rip current, never swim against this narrow current of water flowing away from a beach. Instead, swim parallel to shore, out of the narrow current, then swim back to shore at an angle.

Lifeguards - swim at the lifeguarded waterways listed at www.iws.ie.

Lifejackets - When boating, wear a correctly fitting Lifejacket with a crotch strap.

Stranding - the tidal influence of a full moon on Friday will expose greater areas of beach, increasing the risk that walkers will be stranded by a fast incoming tide.

Supervision - Children are curious about water therefore it is critical that adults supervise children at all times.

Published in Water Safety
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#Drowning - Emergency services have recovered a body at a reservoir in Bohernabreena after a 16-year-old boy went missing while swimming with friends yesterday (Tuesday 15 April), according to TheJournal.ie.

The teenager - named by the Irish Mirror as Shane Boggans - was reportedly snagged in pipe fittings below the surface of the reservoir, where swimming is prohibited.

The Irish Mirror has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

#Drowning - BreakingNews.ie reports that the Garda Ombudsman is investigating the death of a man whose body was recovered from the River Corrib in Galway city some time after he was stopped at a Garda traffic checkpoint.

The Irish Coast Guard and Galway RNLI were involved in a major search and rescue operation last night after the man was seen jumping into the river from O’Brien’s Bridge around 6.30pm. His body was found at Lough Atalia an hour later.

Published in News Update
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