New Year’s Day drowning tragedy

GES Safety and Emergency Group helicopter over Playa Del Inglés on New Year's Day

GES Safety and Emergency Group helicopter over Playa Del Inglés on New Year’s Day

A 65 year old Finnish bather has drowned in Playa del Inglés, Gran Canaria, after trying to save his 60-year-old wife after she got into trouble. Though the woman was rescued by other bathers and members of the Red Cross, suffering from mild hypothermia and in shock, the man was found to be having a cardiac arrest, and did not respond to resuscitation dying at the scene.

The incident occurred around 13.50 hours at the Playa del Inglés beach, not far from the main Red Cross facility. The 112 Emergency and Safety Coordinating Centre (Cecoes) was alerted of what was happening. Two ambulances were deployed from the SUC Canary Islands Emergency Service; local and national police; firefighters; along with Protección Civil.

Marine Rescue were also alerted, although in the end did not need to attend the scene.

A helicopter from the GES Emergency and Safety Group flew overhead and tracked the events along the coastal zone for more than half an hour, due to confusion among bathers, as it was thought that there might be a third person in trouble, besides the couple, among the Buoys, though no-one else was found

Resuscitation was attempted, first from the Red Cross rescuers, then the SUC medical personnel. The man’s death was finally certified at 2:35 pm.

The man’s wife, was taken care of by SUC rescuers and was transferred to the main Maspalomas health centre.

National Police took charge of guarding the man’s body until the arrival of judicial authorities to order his transferal to the Institute of Legal Medicine.

People Ignoring Red Flags

The Red Cross had a busy day on the beaches despite the red flags meant to prevent bathers from swimming due to unfavourable coastal conditions.

They report having had to make five rescues. The first was a 65 year old man in the Faro de Maspalomas lighthouse area who suffered a cardiac arrest and needed to be rescued and was transferred to the Hospital San Roque.

Rescuers then had to go to the aid of a 37-year-old mother and her nine-year-old son when they were found to be in trouble in Playa del Inglés. Followed by the Finnish couple, which ended in tragedy.

In this area of Playa del Inglés, near the breakwaters, strong currents are very common, as is the overconfidence of people who decide to swim, even despite the raised red flags.

Authorities have urged people to use their common sense, heed warnings and listen to the advice of professional safety personnel, who may have to risk their own lives to help those who ignore the dangers.