A 70-yeart-old British tourist died while he was swimming in Fournoti beach, west of Agia Roumeli in the southwest of the island of Crete on Tuesday morning. The man reportedly became unconscious while he was swimming. Other swimmers rushed to help him. They brought the man ashore, a private boat took him to Agia Roumeli. From there he was taken to the Health center of the area. Doctors tried to bring him back to life, however, without result.
The British tourist was spending holidays together with his wife.
This is just one of the daily news about somebody who died while swimming. Almost daily we read such news this summer. The figures are indeed are shocking. According to data obtained form the Greek Coast Guard, From July 10th to August 28th 2017, there has been one drowning incident at one Greek beach daily in the time 10. July – 28. August 2017.
The research conducted by news website Arcadiaportal.gr has shown that in the above mentioned period of time 75 drowning incidents have occurred. Not included are incidents where bodies were discovered in the sea and the cause of people’s death was not clear.
The overwhelming majority for those drowned in 2017, were men (53). Also the overwhelming majority were people over 63 years old: 52 men and women. All women who were drowned were seniors: 22 women were 65-84 years old. Only one was 35.
According to the GCG data:
1.May – 11. July 2016: 96 people were drowned, majority of them over 70 years old.
1.May -11. July 2015: 105 people were drowned, 1.May-31. August: a total of 146 people (Greeks and foreigners). Also in 2015, the majority were seniors.
Greece is top in drownings in Europe among the countries with accessibility to the sea, and second globally.
In the average 350-370 drowning occur in the country. Drowning is the second cause of death after traffic accidents.
Researches have shown that majority of the people drowned are men.
A survey of 2013 showed that 63% of swimmers do not know basic safety rules for swimming in the pool or in the sea.
And some are simply brainless and do not follow the rules even if a lifeguard tell them to do so.
The video below shows how a 17-year-old insists on swimming at a beach of Rethymnon, Crete, despite rough sea and currents. He had to be rescued and brought ashore by lifeguards. According to Flashnews.gr, the currents and the waves had exhausted the teenager and he would have drowned if the lifeguards had not come to his aid. Aug 31 2017
31/8/17 Διασωση δεκαεπταχρονου με αριστες κολυμβητικες ικανοτητες, σε θαλασσα με δυνατο ρευματισμο και κυματισμο, στην παραλια του Ρεθυμνου. Ο συγκεκριμενος λουομενος αδιαφορουσε για τις συστασεις και τις υποδιξεις του ναυαγοσωστη απο την προηγουμενη μερα, μεχρι που τα θαλασσια ρευματα της τρικυμιωδης παραλιας, δεν του επετρεπαν να βγει στην στερια, τον εξαντλουσαν και θα τον επνιγαν, αν δεν παρεμβαινε εγκαιρα, η ναυαγοσωστικη ομαδα Ρεθυμνου να τον διασωσει!!!!Οι θαλασσιες συνθικες που επικρατουσαν στην παραλια ηταν οι χειροτερες του καλοκαιριου!! Η θαλασσα δεν ειναι παιχνιδι!!!
Posted by Stilianos Xeroudakis on Friday, September 1, 2017
In another video, also from Crete, I saw lifeguards arguing with a ‘Greek Alpha Male” who wanted to swim even though the beach flag was red and the lifeguards were urging him to come ashore through whistling.
Why not lifeguard at the beaches?
Hiring a lifeguard is a costly issue for the municipalities. Apparently it costs more than a human life. On the other hand, given the number of endless beaches and gulfs where everyone can go for a swim, having lifeguards at every piece of sand or pebbles is simply impossible.
Many municipalities refrain from hiring a coastal lifeguard stating the beaches in their area are not crowded.
Speaking to Arcadiaportal, Nikos Giovanidis, director of Greek Lifesaving Academy (ENAK) and Public Relations Officer of the Lifeguard Schools Association “Vima”, said that several beaches have been declassified from being ‘crowded’ – and therefore there is no obligation to hire a lifeguard.
The procedure to decide for a lifeguard is taken through voting. Every February a 3-member committee has to decide on a lifeguard or not. The procedure is launched by the Coast Guard. the member are one from the Regional government, one from the Municipality and one from the local Coast Guard.
“Declassification is usually done with two votes against one (the minority is the coast guard representative), asking for a prosecutor’s intervention on the matter,” Giovanidis said.
I was wondering about the absence of a lifeguard at a small but very crowded beach in east Attica this summer. Majority of swimmers were grannies, ladies over 65-70 years old, some even over 80. They would come to the beach every morning with municipality buses or buses of private companies that offer heat-ridden Athenians a cool swim all though the summer. Dozens of elderly Greek ladies would swim and swim and swim. Every morning from begin or mid June to end of August.
One of these ladies told me that one woman was drowned there in June.
How many elderly Greek ladies are needed to call the beach ‘crowded’?