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British girl drowns on school trip to France

A British girl on a school trip to France died on Wednesday after drowning in a lake whilst swimming with other classmates. Authorities have been forced to issue warnings as the number of drownings in France soars.

British girl drowns on school trip to France
Lifeguards are having a busy summer with so many people taking to the water. Photo: AFP

The 12-year-old pupil drowned after swimming in Lake Triouzoune in central France when the pontoon she was standing on, along with several classmates, collapsed.

Life guards helped pull the pupils from the water but when they counted the number of pupils, they realized one was still missing.

A member of staff then returned to the water and pulled the girl’s body out, but she was not breathing and showed no signs of life.

Life guards and paramedics spent 20 minutes trying to resuscitate the school girl from Hull, northern England.

According to the website France 3 she eventually began breathing again and was taken to hospital in Limoges. But she died on Wednesday morning.

Her school headteacher Dave McCready, from Wolfreton school released a statement.

He said: “We are all deeply saddened by this tragic event and our thoughts and prayers are with the students and family at this time.”

The headteacher added that all pupils on the trip had been able to swim 50 metres unaided. He said the rest of the pupils were still in France and being cared for by school staff, but they would be brought home as soon as possible.

The school trip was organised by the company Activ4 whose managing director Steve Scott said the exact circumstances surrounding the death remain unclear.

The tragic incident is just the latest in a series of drownings in France this summer.

On the same day as the incident involving the British schoolgirl, an 11-year-old drowned at a leisure centre in a lake in the Eure-et-Loire department in central France.

France’s National Institute of Health Surveillance has issued warnings for the public to be vigilant as the hot summer weather means more people, especially children, are taking to lakes, rivers and seas to cool off.

The institute reported a sharp increase in the number of drownings this summer with 163 deaths between June 1st and July 19th alone.

Authorities say there are around five fatal incidents a day in France compared to the normal average of three.

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SWIMMING

France issues warnings after shocking new drowning figures released

France has warned people of the dangers of swimming after a shocking report revealed the country saw nearly 600 fatal drownings last summer.

France issues warnings after shocking new drowning figures released
The total number of fatal drownings between June 1st and September 30th, 2018, was 597, according to a new survey by France's national health body Sante France Publique.
 
Of the deaths recorded, 406 were accidental while 89 were suicides or assaults. The reasons behind the other 102 deaths remains unknown, according to key findings published by the health body. 
 
The number of accidental fatal drownings has remained fairly stable since the previous report was produced for summer 2015 when 436 people died. 
 
However, the total number of accidental drownings during 2018 was recorded at 1,649, representing a rise of 30 percent on the previous survey. Of these, 25 percent were fatal. 
 
The French health body categorised its findings according to the definition decided upon by the World Health Organisation, which states that drowning can have three consequences: death, long-term illness or temporary respiratory issues. 

 
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The dangers of swimming in France's seas, lakes, rivers and pools you need to know aboutPhoto: AFP

This increase in accidents was mainly seen among under-13s (338 in 2015 compared to 600 in 2018), the survey said, adding more positively that there has not been an increase in the number of deaths. 
 
Unsurprisingly the French departments with the highest number of drownings were those by the sea, namely the Var, Bouches-du-Rhône, Gironde, Hérault and Pyrénées-Orientales, which alone account for nearly one in three drownings.
 
A total of 44 percent of drownings occur by the sea, while swimming pools account for 31 percent and rivers or other bodies of water account for 22 percent.
 
Drownings at sea mainly concerned adults aged over 45 while those in swimming pool drownings concerned children under 6-years-old and those in rivers or streams mostly concerned adults aged between 25 and 44 years old.
 
The average age of drowning is 22 years and 5 months for all accidental drownings and 51 years and 6 months for accidental drownings that result in a fatality.
 
Experts believed the weather conditions during the summer of 2018 – the second hottest summer since 1900 – were partly to blame for the number of drownings, due to an increase in the number of people swimming.
 
 
Be cautious
 
If you're among the many thousands of people planning to swim in France this summer,  it's vital that you're aware of the different dangers of taking a dip on the Normandy, Atlantic or Mediterranean coasts as well as in the many rivers, lakes and private swimming pools.
 
For instance, the Mediterranean sea takes the lives of more French swimmers than the Atlantic Ocean, and yet the latter's tides are stronger and generally considered more treacherous.
 
Meanwhile some regions in north west France such as the southern beaches of Brittany are renowned for their strong waves whereas in Normandy the danger is more linked to the tides, which surprise people who have gone for a stroll on the beach and suddenly find themselves trapped by quickly rising waters.
 
For more information on the danger associated with the various coastlines, as well as rivers and lakes and swimming pools in France CLICK HERE
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