When fun turns to tragedy

When fun turns to tragedy

Seven teenage boys have died since July 5 and there is fear that this unhappy total will have doubled by end of the month. These deaths are classed as suspected drownings and have taken place at canals, quarries, lakes, and rivers across the UK as (mostly) boys tried to find ways of cooling down in soaring temperatures.

Young people can often be seen jumping from the steep, rocky sides of quarries into the water below, despite signs warning of the dangers. Jamie was one such youngster who lost his life in doing just that and the local emergency services were appalled to see other youngsters diving at the same place the very next day. The youngsters think that they are invincible.

Dawn Whittaker, the chief fire officer of East Sussex, said that teenage boys are the demographic most likely to drown on hot days. Last year, thirty-nine young people aged between 11 and 20 drowned in accidents, a large rise on the previous three-year average of twenty-eight. Nearly 90% were male.

Swimming in quarries, lakes and rivers can be dangerous

Youngsters think that because they would class themselves as competent swimmers they have nothing to fear from outdoor conditions which will be very similar to swimming in indoor pools. The reality is quite different. However tempting the water in a lake or river may look there will be many potential risks. Would-be swimmers need to understand the dangers of the temperature drop, the potential debris they might get tangled in and sharp rocks below.

Cold water shock can be a precursor to drowning and occurs when a person is exposed to water with a temperature below 15C (59F), causing the heart to pump more rapidly, leaving the sufferer gasping for breath and making it easy to inhale water.

Image Credits: Kt Bruce .



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