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.