Sharp drop in drowning cases

MUSCAT, MAY 13 – Although drowning cases have seen significant fall last year, authorities say people are still ignoring safety warnings and do not take precautions. According to data from the Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulance (PACDA), 173 drowning cases were registered in 2017 compared to 286 incidents in 2016. A total of 113 water-related emergencies were recorded in 2015, compared to 150 cases in 2014.
An official at PACDA said that the highest number of cases was attended during the summer months, the time when many people are on holidays.
“The reason behind most cases of accidents is lack of precautions that people fail to take,” said the official.
Drowning cases are increasingly becoming common in Oman, as people continue to ignore warnings from authorities against swimming in choppy seas and areas prone to flash floods.
The official advised the public to pay attention to weather forecasts and not to venture into wadis and the sea during the warning period.
“Very often children are freely allowed to venture into the water by parents,” the official said.
Children make up the majority of drowning victims as they are often not strong enough to swim against powerful currents, he said.
It is a common sight to see people swimming late into the evening though beach safety regulations prohibit such activities after sunset.
“In some cases, it has been noticed that parents allow children to swim without lifejackets,” he said while advising parents to stay close to children because they are really vulnerable in water.
“Even expert swimmers can get swept away if the tides are strong,” he said.
An expert at a health club at a city hotel said that every year people die because they don’t respect the power of the ocean.
“High winds, riptides and creatures of the sea can all lead to disaster, so just be aware of these things before you go out and tackle the ocean,” he said.
“To get maximum fun, most beachgoers get adventurous. But they forget that it takes less than a minute to get washed away by the waves,” he said.
“Pay close attention to the warnings and take precautions. Even in shallow water, waves can cause a loss of balance. Don’t leave them alone,” he added.

SAMUEL KUTTY