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Horrific number of drowning deaths over Christmas and early 2010

Australia is to have one of the worst years for drowning says Royal Life Saving who warn the summer holidays have been absolutely horrific with 41 drowning deaths and countless near death accidents.

For the corresponding period 12 months ago, there were 24 deaths.

Royal Life Saving highlights the number of people who have drowned in the holiday period is 71 per cent up on the same period 12 months ago - which they say is deeply shocking.

Royal Life Saving's Chief Executive Officer Rob Bradley says thousands of people have been affected by the 41 drowning deaths which he describes as 'deeply troubling'.

Royal Life Saving says as we head towards the end of the holiday season, it's absolutely critical people are vigilant about safety when they are in, on or around water pointing out that the drownings this year (and in the run up to Christmas) have happened at many different water locations.

Rob Bradley said: "We are absolutely staggered by the number of drowning incidents in the lead up to Christmas and in the early part of the New Year. Frankly, we are horrified and we remind people to make sure you are swimming at a recognised swimming location. Do not over-estimate your ability. Ensure children are constantly supervised when they are near water because they often don't realise the very real dangers.

"Up to 40 per cent of adult drowning incidents are related to alcohol. This is a huge concern. We remind people never to mix alcohol with any kind of swimming, boating of fishing. If you are out boating, make sure everybody is wearing a lifejacket and the boat has appropriate safety equipment.

"If you are enjoying the warm weather at home, Keep Watch over children. Supervision obviously means being within arms; reach and constantly watching. Not an occasional glance."

Royal Life Saving warns thousands and thousands of backyard pools across the nation are potential death traps because people have not checked their pool fences.

Royal Life Saving also warns people enjoying recreational fishing to be cautious, aware of weather conditions and to have a lifejacket and a personal EPIRB. They also highlight you should never fish alone.

Rob Bradley added: "A common misconception is that most drownings happen at the beach. Inland waterways are very treacherous Rivers and lakes may appear on the surface to be calm and tranquil but can be very dangerous and always check water before you enter, always swim with a friend, avoid flooded rivers and as always watch children carefully."

Royal Life Saving highlights that it wants people to enjoy aquatic locations but points out all types of water can present clear dangers.

Rob Bradley added: "There are many people still in hospital in critical condition after drowning incidents over this period. When someone survives a drowning it can be absolutely devastating and in some cases people are left with permanent brain damage or spinal injuries."

"It has been a horror Christmas and a bad start to the New Year. All of this highlights caution is critical as the warm weather continues."

Summary of recent drowning deaths at a glance:

  1. 24/12/09 ... a 18 year old drowned at Bateau Bay in NSW (Beach - swimming)
  2. 24/12/09 ... a 11 year old drowned in Perth in WA (Lake -swimming)
  3. 24/12/09 ... a 45 year old male drowned in the Murray River in NSW (River - swimming)
  4. 25/12/09 ... a 34 year old drowned at Lake Hume in NSW (Lake - boating)
  5. 25/12/09 ... a 34 year old drowned at Cape Shank in Victoria (Rock fishing)
  6. 26/12/09 ... a 54 year old drowned at Ballina in NSW (Beach - swimming).
  7. 26/12/09 ... a 45 year old drowned at Bruny Island in Tasmania (Ocean - boat fishing)
  8. 26/12/09 ... a 73 year old man at Yamba, NSW (Beach Swimming)
  9. 27/12/09 ... a 53 year old drowned at Tangalooma in Queensland (Ocean -scuba diving)
  10. 27/12/09 ... a 2 year old drowned in Shoalhaven in NSW (Home swimming pool)
  11. 29/12/09 ... a 15 year old drowned in Melbourne, Victoria (Beach -Swimming)
  12. 29/12/09 ... a 13 year old drowned in Brisbane, Queensland (Creek)
  13. 30/12/09 ... a 43 year old male drowned at San Remo, Victoria (Rock Fishing)
  14. 30/12/09 ... a 47 year old male possibly drowned at Thomatis Creek, Qld (Creek)
  15. 30/12/09 ... a 44 year old female drowned at Agnes Waters, Qld (Creek, swimming)
  16. 31/12/09 ... a 64 year old male drowned at Edward River, NSW (River)
  17. 31/12/09 ... a 33 year old male drowned at Yallingup, WA (Ocean - scuba diving)
  18. 01/01/10 ... a 17 year old male drowned at Tullebudgera Creek, Qld (Creek - swimming)
  19. 01/01/10 ... a 40 year old man drowned at Palmerston, NT (Storm water drain)
  20. 02/01/10 ... a 31 year old male drowned at Fremantle, WA (Harbour)
  21. 03/01/10 ... a 12 year old Female at Gippsland, Vic (Lake - playing in water)
  22. 04/01/10 ... an adult male drowned at Point Potter, NSW (Rock fishing)
  23. 04/01/10 ... a 19 year old male drowned at Surfers Paradise, Qld (Beach - swimming)
  24. 04/01/10 ... a 87 year old male drowned at Sunshine Coast, Qld (Backyard Swimming Pool)
  25. 04/01/10 ... a 39 year old male drowned at Canberra, ACT (Jet ski accident)
  26. 07/01/10 ... a 1 year old female drowned Albury, NSW (Backyard swimming pool)
  27. 08/01/10 ... a 22 year old male drowned at Moruya, NSW (Beach - swimming)
  28. 09/01/10 ... a 3 year old male drowned at Dimbulah, Qld (Dam)
  29. 09/01/10 ... a 79 year old female drowned Semaphore, SA (Beach - swimming)
  30. 09/01/10 ... a 51 year old male drowned West Lakes, SA (Lake - swimming)
  31. 09/01/10 ... a 2 year old male drowned at Glen Waverly, Vic (Backyard swimming pool)
  32. 09/01/10 ... a 6 year old male drowned at Lancefield Vic (Public swimming pool)
  33. 09/01/10 ... a 22 year old male drowned at Thursday Island, Qld (Ocean, fall from boat)
  34. 09/01/10 ...a 32 year old male drowned at Alice Springs, NT (River, swimming)
  35. 09/01/10 ...a 25 year old male drowned at Alice Springs, NT (River, swimming)
  36. 10/01/10 ... a 40 year old female drowned at Gold Coast Qld (Resort swimming pool)
  37. 10/01/10 ... a 1 year old female drowned at St Clair NSW (Backyard swimming Pool)
  38. 10/01/10 ... a 17 year old male drowned at Lake Glenbawn, NSW (Lake - swimming)
  39. 10/01/10 ... a 86 year old male drowned at Bellambi, NSW (Ocean pool - swimming))
  40. 11/01/10 ... a 46 year old male drowned at Port Macquarie, NSW (Swimming pool)
  41. 12/01/10 ... a 35 year old male drowned at Gold Coast, Qld (Beach - swimming)
Please note all information is provisional until the Coroner has handed down their findings.

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Australia is to have one of the worst years for drowning says Royal Life Saving who warn the summer holidays have been absolutely horrific with 41 drowning deaths and countless near death accidents.


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