Elderly German critically ill after nearly drowning at El Médano

A 73-year-old German nearly drowned shortly after 9.30am this morning at Playa de la Tejita, El Médano. Emergency services say that they were called out by members of the public who had pulled the man unconscious from the water and he appeared to be in cardiac arrest. Paramedics confirmed this when they arrived, but managed to resuscitate him on the beach, and once they had managed to stabilize him, transferred him to Candelaria where he was admitted critically ill, but alive.

Cardiac arrest in the sea is a symptom of cold water shock. Yet again I’ll say that regardless of time of year, even at high summer, Tenerife’s waters are technically cold. 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. 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 read my page HERE for information on all this and for recommendations on how to stay safe in waters around Tenerife.

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