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Three young siblings drown in France as summer swim warnings are issued

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Three young siblings drown in France as summer swim warnings are issued
Illustration photo: AFP
11:11 CEST+02:00
A sister and her two brothers drowned in a lake in France on Sunday during a deadly weekend in French waters forcing authorities to once again warn the public about the dangers of swimming this summer.

Three children from the same family died on Sunday after drowning in an artificial lake (see below) in the town of Chalon-sur-Saône in eastern France.

The three, a girl aged nine and her two brothers aged 10 and 13, had wanted to simply cool their legs in the lake but slipped down the steep bank into the water and were unable to get back out, according to reports in the French press.

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The three, who reports say did not know how to swim, spent around an hour in the water where the temperature was just 10C.

Paramedics were called to scene but they were unable to resuscitate the three children.

The town's mayor Gilles Platret said he was"horrified" to learn the news, which he said was "an absolute tragedy" which had shaken the whole population.

On the same day a woman aged 24 drowned in the sea at Trouville-sur-Mer which lies on the Normandy coast just next to the famous resort of Deauville.

The woman, who was spending the weekend in Trouville with colleagues was caught out by the rising tide, which also left another young boy having to be rescued by firefighters.

A teenager aged 16 also disappeared after swimming in a river near the town of Angers and two Somalians who went swimming in the Loire river at Gennes were also still missing on Monday.

A 77-year-old German national died at the southern resort of Agde after suffering a heart attack as he swam in the sea.

According to French health authority Santé Publique France, there are around 500 drownings in France each summer - the equivalent of three each day between June and September.

Authorities are urging members of the public to follow the guidelines including only choosing a designated swimming spot where lifeguards are in place.

Parents are also urged to keep a close watch on their children at all times and that includes in gardens with swimming pools, which are the scene of many tragic drownings each summer.

And those who cannot swim - around one in seven people in France - and those whose physical condition might prevent them from swimming are urged to stay out of the water.

Tourists in France have been specifically warned in the past to take care, given that they may not know the different dangers of swimming on beaches around France.

“There is a misunderstanding among the part of the population who are not used to the coastline," Lieutenant Pasqualini, a French firefighter, told Europe 1 radio previously.

READ ALSO: Tourists in France warned of risks of swimming in the Mediterranean 

“The Mediterranean has its dangers, its peculiarities, due to the fact the wind can change quickly and without warning, but also because of certain currents, notably near the dykes,” he said.

Sebastian Royer, who coordinates operations for maritime safety organisation Cross Med, told The Local previously that: “holiday makers are more at risk because they don't know the sea like locals do. People who live here know it can be dangerous but often holidaymakers think it is completely safe to swim in the Mediterranean.” 

Despite the Atlantic coast being considered more dangerous due to the stronger currents pulling swimmers out to sea, more drownings generally occur in the Mediterranean, where the wind and waves can be a hazard.

In Brittany and Normandy the dangers are more related to the tides which can rise and fall rapidly and take swimmers by surprise.

One theory is those who swim in the Atlantic are more aware of the dangers but those on holiday in the Mediterranean often fall in to the trap of falsely believing the sea to be safe.

 

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