Drownings in Tenerife 2018: diver dies of cardiac arrest in Playa San Juan harbour

Updated 15 November: A 57-year-old man died this morning while diving in Playa San Juan harbour. Emergency services say that they were called out at 11.15am with reports that he had suffered a cardiac arrest while practising his sport and that he was being taken to the quayside by boat. Tragically, however,all resuscitation efforts were to no avail and the man was confirmed dead at the scene.

There is an orange alert for very rough seas this coming weekend (see HERE), so please do take extra care in the water or near the coast, and in any case, do be aware that even in summer our seas are technically “cold”, and right now they are cold in any sense. This means that the risk of cardiac arrest in the sea, which is a symptom of cold water shock, is even more pronouned at this time of year. Please be aware of the dangers of the sea here, and not just the problems associated with “cold water”, but also the warning flags that fly on our beaches, rip tides and undertow, all issues that bathers need to know about. This is not a warning not to go in the water, but advice to go in the water with care,. Please also read THIS page on staying safe in Tenerife waters.

Updated 2 November: Emergency Services say that a man’s body was recovered today at Playa de Tachero in the Anaga area. There is no confirmation of identity but clearly it is possibly related to the search that’s been underway for the past three days in the area for a young man who was reported missing after getting into difficulties in the sea off the north coast at Taganana in the Anaga area. The body was initially airlifted to TFN La Laguna, and there will no doubt be further forensic information in due course.

Updated 6 October: A 25-year-old French woman died this afternoon while snorkelling at Playa de Barranco Seco, between Los Gigantes and Masca beach. Emergency services say that they were called out mere minutes after 4pm with reports that the woman had suffered a cardiac arrest and that resuscitation attempts were being carried out while she was being put on a boat headed for Los Gigantes harbour. A range of resources was dispatched, including a helicopter, which arrived to find the woman being attended at the harbour by staff from the local surgery, but sadly despite their efforts being taken up by ambulance crew, nothing could be done for her and she was declared dead at the scene.

Sadly, cardiac arrest in the sea is a symptom of cold water shock, which can affect people even with water temperature of up to 25ºC, 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.

Please be aware of the dangers of the sea here, and not just the problems associated with “cold water”, but also the warning flags that fly on our beaches, rip tides and undertow, all issues that bathers need to know about. This is not a warning not to go in the water, but advice to go in the water with care, forearmed because forewarned … and therefore able to enjoy the sea safely … and THIS page on staying safe in Tenerife waters will give full explanations.

Updated 9.30pm: The hotel association Ashotel has issued a formal statement this evening following the death of a five-year-old British boy in the Paradise Park Hotel in Los Cristianos this afternoon. The statement says:

La Asociación Hotelera y Extrahotelera de Tenerife, La Palma, La Gomera y El Hierro, Ashotel, lamenta profundamente el triste accidente producido esta tarde en un hotel de Los Cristianos, Arona, en una de cuyas piscinas falleció un niño de cuatro años. A pesar de todo el despliegue de medios técnicos y humanos de los servicios de Emergencia y Seguridad del Gobierno de Canarias, así como de personal del hotel, finalmente no pudo ser reanimado. Ante esta situación, Ashotel quiere trasladar en primer lugar un mensaje de solidaridad y apoyo sincero a la familia y allegados del menor fallecido, así como mostrar su afecto a todo el personal y la dirección del establecimiento hotelero. El hotel quiere hacer público en estos duros momentos que está volcado en acompañar a la familia del menor para ayudarla a sobrellevar esta difícil y trágica situación de la mejor manera posible.

Ashotel deeply regrets the sad accident this afternoon in a Los Cristianos hotel where a four-year-old child died in one of its pools. Despite all the deployment of technical and human resources from the Canarian Government’s emergency services, as well as hotel personnel, ultimately he could not be revived. Ashotel therefore wishes to convey a message of solidarity and sincere support to the family and friends of the child, as well as the shock felt by all the hotel staff and management. The hotel wishes to state publicly that it is doing everything in its power at this very difficult time to try to help the family deal with this difficult and tragic situation as best it can.

Updated 19 September: Tragically, a five year old British child has drowned this afternoon in a Los Cristianos hotel swimming pool. Emergency services say they were called out around 3.40pm to the Paradise Park hotel with reports that the little boy had been pulled out of the water unconscious but sadly all efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful and he was declared dead at the scene.

Updated 10 September: An 86-year-old man drowned this afternoon in the municipal pool in Buenavista del Norte. Emergency services say that they were called out at 2.22pm with reports that the man had been pulled out of the water by lifeguards and that resuscitation attempts were underway. Medical personnel from the local health centre and ambulance crew who had been taken to the secne next to the golf course by medical helicopter determined that he had suffered a cardiac arrest but sadly their further efforts to bring him back failed and he was declared dead at the scene.

Updated 14 August: A 68-year-old man died this lunchtime practising pesca deportiva a pulmón (sport fishing without breathing apparatus) at Playa de Los Troches on the coast of La Laguna municipality. Emergency services say that they were called out at 1.15pm with reports that a body had been seen floating some 10m out to sea near the locally-known Roque de los Dos Hermanos. A Policía Local officer swam out to recover the poor man, and established that he was unconscious and in cardiac arrest. Tragically, despite his own efforts at resuscitation, and those of ambulance crew together with the medical team they had brought from a local surgery, the man could not be helped and he was declared dead at the scene. Bomberos de Tenerife collaborated in recovering the body since it was found in a very steep area, but a Coastguard helicopter dispatched to the scene was not in the end needed.

Updated 2 August: A 47-year-old German swimmer drowned in the Playa de Tamadite on the north coast in the Anaga area of Santa Cruz this afternoon. Emergency services say that they were called out shortly after 5pm with reports that the man was in difficulties while swimming and was unable to get out of the water, and medical personnel including helicopter crew found him in cardiac arrest. He was winched aboard and flown to TFN but despite prolonged resuscitation efforts he was declared dead at arrival at the north airport.

Sadly, cardiac arrest in the sea is a symptom of cold water shock, which can affect people even with water temperature of up to 25ºC, 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.

Please be aware of the dangers of the sea here, and not just the problems associated with “cold water”, but also the warning flags that fly on our beaches, rip tides and undertow, all issues that bathers need to know about. This is not a warning not to go in the water, but advice to go in the water with care, forearmed because forewarned … and therefore able to enjoy the sea safely … and THIS page on staying safe in Tenerife waters will give full explanations.

Updated 20 July: A 49-year-old man died this afternoon after being pulled from the sea in El Pris, Tacoronte. Emergency services say that they were called out shortly after 3pm with reports that several fellow bathers were trying to assist the man who had disappeared in the water while seemingly swimming towards his boat. Policía Local agents found that he was in cardiac arrest and began attempts to resuscitate which were taken up by ambulance crew shortly afterwards. Sadly, however, they were unable to bring him back and he was declared dead at the scene.

As is well known by now, cardiac arrest in the sea is a symptom of cold water shock, which can affect people even with water temperature of up to 25ºC, 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 98.6ºF; shivering begins when the body temperature lowers to approximately 96.5º; amnesia and coordination problems begin to set in at approximately 94ºF, unconsciousness at 86ºF, and death, normally from cardiac arrest, at approximately 79ºF … and 79ºF is 4º above our normal high season water temperatures!

Updated 11 July: After yesterday’s sad news about the elderly swimmer who died in the sea at El Rosario, police have stressed that the weather is turning and will be cooling down over today and tomorrow, replacing the last few days’ calima with an unsettled spell. The real issue, however, is that this will involve some wild seas, and already today a windsurfer has died at the unfortunately-named Playa de Costa Calma in Fuerteventura, and the promenade in Arinaga in Gran Canaria is suffering damage caused by sand and stones being thrown up from the high waves.

In Tenerife, police have only in the last hour closed the TF66 where it skirts the coast in Las Galletas because of “coastal phenomena”, and so naturally they have issued warnings about safety in the sea: in particular they note that several beaches in south Tenerife are now flying red flags banning bathing. Please take particular care in the water today and the next few days, and have a look HERE for information about staying safe, and above all, the beach flags and their meanings.

Updated 10 July: It has been a year mercifully low in drownings, but sadly a 73-year-old man died this afternoon in the costa de Bocacangrejo in El Rosario, north Tenerife, this afternoon. Emergency services say that they were called out just after 5pm with reports that some swimmers had pulled the man unconscious out of the water and were attempting to resuscitate him. Tragically, despite their efforts being taken up by ambulance crew, nothing could be done to save the man and he was declared dead at the scene.

Updated 24 April: A body was found in the sea off El Puertito around 1pm yesterday, and was recovered by the Helimer 206 helicopter and a Coastguard lifeboat. Emergency servics say that it is the general area where the Swedish man drowned last Wednesday (see latest update below) and another Swede of 46 years of age went missing though at the moment there is no actual confirmation of the identity of the body found yesterday.

Updated 18 April: A 26-year-old Swedish swimmer drowned today after getting into difficulties in the sea of El Pris in the Costa Adeje. A helicopter and lifeboat were dispatched after emergency services received reports that the man had been pulled from the water by other swimmers – one of whom was injured in the process. Another swimmer is missing and the Coastguard continues to search for him.

Original post 18 April: The Coastguard has activated a full rescue operation after several people were seen in difficulties in the sea of El Pris in Puerto Colon, Adeje. A helicopter and lifeboat are in service along with ambulance crew, Policía Local and Guardia Civil. The photo left (click to enlarge) is from Scott Brazil who says that after an hour hovering, the winchman went into the water but came back up alone.

Updated 2 April: Water safety organization Canarias, 1.500 km de costa says that fifteen people have lost their lives to drowning in the sea or in swimming pools in the Canaries so far this year. Although that is a terrible figure, and one that relates to fifteen separate personal tragedies, nonetheless it is one that is down 40% on drownings at the first quarter point in 2017: by the end of March last year, 25 had drowned. This year’s figures relate to seven deaths in Gran Canaria, six in Tenerife, and two in Lanzarote.

In terms of more specific statistics, again, sadly, the overwhelming majority of drownings involve foreign visitors – so far this year, the figure is 87%, specifically four Germans, three Norwegians, Two Lithuanians, Two Britons, one Danish and one Dutch. In addition to the deaths, there were 23 incidents where people had to be resuscitated from an incomplete drowning in water accidents. Of the total incidents involving the 38 affected, 60% were swimmers, 24% divers, and 3% anglers, and the location breakdown is 68% on beaches, 13% in swimming pools, and 8% in rock pools. In terms of age and sex, 93% of victims are male, and 60% are adults under 59 years of age, 25% over 60, and 15% children (10% ages are unknown).

With summer coming, it’s perhaps too early to be too optimistic, but maybe the message is finally getting across. Certainly the figures provide some good news, much needed at the moment!

Updated 12 March: Tenerife has been mercifully free of drownings in the past couple of months but that changed at 4pm today when a 79-year-old British swimmer died in a hotel pool in Calle Londres in the El Duque area. Emergency services say that they were called out just before half past one to request help for the man who also suffered a cardiac arrest and had been rescued from the pool. A medical doctor who happened to be at the pool attempted resuscitation but despite his efforts and those of medical crew attending the incident, sadly he was declared dead at the scene.

Just hours later, a 70-year-old German swimmer drowned at Playa Fañabé. Emergency services say that they were called out around 4pm with reports that the man had been pulled from the water and appeared to be in cardiac arrest. Ambulance crew plus medical personnel from a local health centre tried to resuscitate him while waiting for a helicopter to land on the beach but all attempts to help him failed and he was declared dead at the scene. As is well known by now, cardiac arrest in the sea is a symptom of cold water shock – please see the first post below from 2 January for details, and links to staying safe in the water here in Tenerife.

Updated 14 January: Two people drowned just after half past one this afternoon in the sea at La Charca de La Laja in San Juan de la Rambla. Emergency services say that search and rescue helicopters, lifeboats, bomberos, ambulance crew, Policía Local and Guardia Civil have all been involved in the operation, which saw two people also recovered and transferred to hospital. The incident apparently originated with one person in trouble, but three others entered the water attempting to save him: sadly, one of these died in the effort. Both dead men are said to have been Lithuanian. The two injured, a man and woman of 36 and 37 years of age, themselves needed rescuing and are said to have been suffering hypothermia and to have received various contusions. The sea is rough at present, and about to get rougher, as I posted HERE earlier today. Please exercise extreme caution in or near the water.

Original post 2 January: In Tenerife’s first drowning of 2018, a man died at Playa El Confital in El Médano. Emergency services say that they were called out shortly before 2pm with reports that someone had got into difficulties in the water and that fellow bathers had managed to get him onto dry land. Sadly, however, medical personnel who attended the incident could do nothing for him and he was declared dead at the scene.

There are no details about this man, nor about the specific reason he died, but I’ll repeat here in the first post of this thread in 2018 that cardiac arrest in the sea is a symptom of cold water shock, which can affect people even with water temperature of up to 25ºC, 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 98.6ºF; shivering begins when the body temperature lowers to approximately 96.5º; amnesia and coordination problems begin to set in at approximately 94ºF, unconsciousness at 86ºF, and death, normally from cardiac arrest, at approximately 79ºF … and 79ºF is 4º above our normal high season water temperatures!

Please be aware of the dangers of the sea here, and not just the problems associated with “cold water”, but also the warning flags that fly on our beaches, rip tides and undertow, all issues that bathers need to know about. Please read THIS page on staying safe in Tenerife waters. Above all, however, please don’t interpret this information as a warning not to go in the water. What it is is advice to go in the water with care, forearmed because forewarned … and therefore able to enjoy the sea safely.

1 Comment

  1. What a sad story. The beach concerned is a fairly remote but a beautiful and sometimes wild location near Punta del Hidalgo.

    In Tenerife there are some real heroes in the public services who risk their lives to try to rescue those in difficulty in the oceans; this time a member of the Policia Local.

    Unfortunately I have to compare these efforts with the attitude of some authorities in the UK, who because of health and safety concerns, are now risk averse.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1564648/Police-to-think-twice-about-rescuing-drowning.html

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