France sees 121 fatal drownings in just one month this summer

With the summer holidays in full swing French health authorities have released shocking figures that should grab the attention of all parents, as well as those people who are not strong swimmers.

France sees 121 fatal drownings in just one month this summer

From June 1st until July 5th there have been 121 fatal drownings around France – a rate of just over three deaths per day, according to the health agency Santé Publique France.

According to the agency's initial findings published on Thursday there have been a total of 552 accidents linked to swimming in the 35-day period between June 1st and July 5th.

Most of those accidents involved children and are mainly due to adults not keeping a proper eye on them whilst they are in or near the water.

Other accidents involving children are linked to falls or a basic lack of safety measures around the area where they are swimming.

The Local reported earlier this week how three siblings – a young girl and her two brothers – died after slipping into a lake in central eastern France while they were dipping their legs in the water to cool down.

Swimming was forbidden in the artificial lake in Chalon-sur-Saône where the temperature was just 10C.

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.

“A child can drown in under three minutes without any noise in just 20cm of water,” noted the health agency.

Adults are warned never to take their eyes off a child near water and make sure they are equipped with armbands or other floating devices.

As for adults most drownings are linked to people being taken ill, not taking adequate care or simply the fact they are not strong swimmers and get into difficulty.

Some one in seven people in France declare themselves as being unable to swim.

Santé Publique France will continue to collect data until the end of September.


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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. 


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