Updated 1 September: The body of a 49-year-old German windsurfer was found floating off the El Médano coast this lunchtime. Emergency services say that they were called out shortly before 1.30pm with reports of the sad discovery and a helicopter was dispatched, though the body was recovered by lifeguards at the beach with a dinghy. Paramedics found that the man had suffered a cardiac arrest in the water, but their prolonged efforts to resuscitate him were sadly to no avail and he was pronounced dead at the scene. Whether or not it was the cause on this occasion, cardiac arrest is a known symptom of cold water shock: please read THIS page on staying safe in Tenerife waters.
Updated 1 August: Figures released today by the Real Federación Española de Salvamento y Socorrismo show that drownings have increased in the first seven months of this year by some 20% throughout Spain, but almost doubled in the Canaries in the same period. Nationally, most drownings occurred in Galicia, with 46 deaths, but the Canaries is in second place with 43 – in just seven months, 11 of them in Tenerife from official figures, and with the main holiday month of August only just beginning.
Please be aware of the dangers of the sea here, and the warning flags that fly. Do also bear in mind that even in August our waters don’t get above 24ºC (75ºF), which means they are classified as “cold” – which is applied to any water up to 25ºC – and so can cause cold water shock. Swimmers also need to know about rip tides and undertow, so please read THIS page on staying safe in Tenerife waters. This is not to say don’t go in the water! But it is to say go in the water with care, and with foreknowledge … and therefore be safe in the water.
Updated 16 July: Emergency services say that they found a man’s body in the sea at Playa de Benijo in north Tenerife around 6.20pm this evening, and that although the poor soul is still not identified, it is likely to be that of the Italian swimmer who disappeared there on Monday (link). The body was recovered by lifeboat after being located by a search and rescue helicopter. This is the eleventh confirmed drowning in Tenerife’s waters so far this year.
As I’ve said before, cardiac arrest in the sea is a symptom of cold water shock, which can affect people even with water temperature of up to 25º, it’s not just freezing water that is dangerous, and the water around the Canaries’ doesn’t get above 24°C (75°F) even in August. And so, regardless of the time of year, even in high summer, Tenerife’s waters are technically cold. Bathers can get into difficulties within five minutes.
To be specific about symptoms, normal body temperature is 98.6º; shivering begins when the body temperature lowers to approximately 96.5º; amnesia and coordination problems begin to set in at approximately 94º, unconsciousness at 86º, and death, normally from cardiac arrest, at approximately 79º … and 79º is 4º above our normal high season water temperatures! Please also see THIS page on how to stay safe in Tenerife’s waters.
Updated 4 July: A 65-year-old man drowned at 6pm this evening at Playa de La Enramada in La Caleta. Emergency services say that they were called out with reports that he had been pulled out of the water, but paramedics found him in cardiac arrest, and sadly, despite their efforts, they could not resuscitate him and he was declared dead at the scene.
Updated 25 June: A 65-year-old man drowned in the sea off the Las Galletas coast near El Fraile shortly before 8pm this evening. Emergency services were called out at 7.50pm with reports that someone was in difficulty in the water, and a helicopter rescued the man and transferred him to TFS where he was seen by paramedics, and determined to be in cardiac arrest. Sadly, despite prolonged efforts of around an hour to resuscitate him, nothing could be done to save his life and he was confirmed dead at the airport.
Updated 21 May: A 65-year-old woman drowned at 11am yesterday morning in the playa de la Avenida Marítima area of Candelaria. Emergency services say that she was pulled from the water by lifeguards but was found in cardiac arrest, and that despite their efforts to resuscitate her, she could not be helped and was declared dead at the scene.
Udpated 1 May: Emergency services were called out shortly before 3.30 this afternoon by a leisure craft reporting that a passenger had been pulled from the water in cardiac arrest after bathing in the sea. Resuscitation attempts on board were helped by telephone help from the 112 control room while the boat headed for port in Los Gigantes where a doctor and nurse were waiting. Sadly, their efforts, together with those of paramedics and helicopter medics who took up resuscitation attempts, were in vain and the 62-year-0ld German man man was declared dead at the scene, the seventh victim of drowning so far this year in Tenerife.
Updated 18 March: A man died after drowning at Playa El Camisón just before 4pm this afternoon. At the moment there are no details about his age or nationality, but emergency services say that they were called out with reports that lifeguards had pulled the man from the water and were trying to resuscitate him. Sadly, however, their efforts, and those of paramedics who attended, were in vain and the man was confirmed dead at the scene. This is the sixth death through drowning in Tenerife so far this year; there have also been five fatalities through drowning in Gran Canaria, two in La Palma, and one each in Fuerteventura and Lanzarote. Local rumours that a Russian woman recently drowned in Callao Salvaje have been denied by the authorities.
Updated 22 January : We’re still not out of January …
A 75-year-old man drowned this afternoon in Playa Fañabé. Emergency services say that they were called out around 4pm to reports that the man had been pulled from the water by fellow bathers and was in cardiac arrest. They, plus Protección Civil, and then paramedics all tried to resuscitate the man but without success, and he was declared dead at the scene.
Update 13 January: A homeless 55-year-old Austrian has been found dead on Las Teresitas beach in Santa Cruz; he is said to have drowned when swimming while under the influence of alcohol.
Update 11 January: Emergency services say a 65-year-old Finnish man has died around 2pm this afternoon after being swept into the sea from the natural pools at Playa de Jover, on the La Laguna coast. A GES rescue helicopter was involved in his rescue, but he was unable to be saved despite the resuscitation efforts of paramedics and medics from a local health centre, and he was confirmed dead at the scene.
Update 10 January: A 61-year-old British man drowned after suffering a cardiac arrest in the water shortly before 3pm today at Callao Salvaje. Sadly lifeguards and paramedics were unable to resuscitate him, and he was declared dead at the scene.
Cardiac arrest is a known symptom of cold water shock, and the danger can also be exacerbated by various factors. There are more details on how to stay safe in Tenerife’s waters on THIS page, where I specifically name Callao Salvaje as a beach where bathers can get into difficulty because of the frequent need to struggle against a pronounced undertow.
As I posted HERE yesterday, 62 people died at Canarian beaches last year, just under one every six days. Please be aware, and stay safe.
Original post 1 January: I really didn’t want to do this on 1 January, but Tenerife has recorded the first drowning of the year in Playa de Chovito, Las Caletillas, near Candelaria. The victim is a 70-year-old man who emergency services say was pulled from the water just before 10am after suffering a cardiac arrest while swimming. Paramedics were dispatched to reports of the incident but their resuscitation efforts were sadly to no avail and they declared the swimmer dead at the scene.
Cardiac arrest in the sea is a symptom of cold water shock. Yet again I’ll say that cold water shock can affect people even with water temperature of up to 25º, it’s not just freezing water that is dangerous, and the water around the Canaries’ doesn’t get above 24°C (75°F) even in August. And so, regardless of the time of year, even in high summer, Tenerife’s waters are technically cold. Bathers can get into difficulties within five minutes.
To be specific about symptoms, normal body temperature is 98.6º; shivering begins when the body temperature lowers to approximately 96.5º; amnesia and coordination problems begin to set in at approximately 94º, unconsciousness at 86º, and death, normally from cardiac arrest, at approximately 79º … and 79º is 4º above our normal high season water temperatures!
According to figures released by the Real Federación Española de Salvamento y Socorrismo, the Canaries registered one drowning at a beach every six days in 2015, the second highest rate in any Spanish area, and one of the main causes of death in otherwise healthy people. Sixty two people drowned at Canarian beaches in 2015. Please read my page HERE for information on all this and for recommendations on how to stay safe in waters around Tenerife.