Summer drownings almost double on last year
Four people have drowned in less than 24 hours in a horror start to the year. The separate incidents in Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria comes as new figures reveal drowning deaths in Australia are up 40 percent compared to the same time last year.
Just after 12.30pm yesterday, a man in his 40s was pulled from the water at Frenchman’s Beach on North Stradbroke Island, Queensland. Despite rescuers spending over an hour trying to revive him, he died at the scene.
In Sydney, a 38-year-old man was pulled unconscious from the water at Clovelly in Sydney’s eastern beaches at about 2pm.Rescuers used a defibrillator and performed CPR but he also died at the scene.
“Tragically every five days one person has drowned on the NSW south coast so far,” Surf Life Saving Australia’s Steve Pearce told the Nine network.
And just before 5pm yesterday, a 45-year-old Victorian man drowned while holidaying with his family at a Paynesville beach in the state’s east. This was the sixth drowning in Victoria in just nine days.
A 66-year-man was pulled from the water in northern Tasmania but attempts to revive him were unsuccessful. The incident unfolded at Hawley Beach just after 3pm.
The drownings have sparked renewed calls for swimmers to take care in the water. A total of 47 people have drowned in Australian waters this summer, including a number of foreign nationals, raising concerns that Australia’s water safety messages aren’t getting through, and people are simply not paying attention to water safety rules.
Federal Minister for Sport Bridget McKenzie said the number of drownings is unacceptably high and urged all Australians to be vigilant when swimming in the sea, at pools and in rivers and creeks. “I cannot reinforce enough, the need to respect our waterways and surf conditions,” she said in a statement. “At this time of year when the temperature is high, the desire to cool off by swimming doesn’t mean you shouldn’t over-look the conditions and take care when entering the water. If you come down to the beach, swim between the red and yellow flags,” Mr Pearce said. “Don’t swim alone, don’t over estimate your own swimming abilities and stay between those flags.” This sentiment was also highlighted by the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia.(Source – CH NINE News)