Every year in Italy about 400 people die by drowning and 800 are hospitalized as a result of drowning. These numbers are accompanied by around 60,000 rescues on the beaches and more than 600,000 prevention interventions by lifeguards. These are some of the data contained in the first report of the Observatory for the development of a national strategy for the prevention of drownings and accidents in bathing water, released today on the occasion of the World Day for the prevention of drowning which is celebrated today.
The report refers in particular to drownings along the sea coasts, although it also reports a first analysis of these accidents in inland waters: rivers, lakes, streams, canals, reservoirs. Between 2016 and 2021, an average of 78 deaths per year were recorded in these places, a particularly high number if we consider that they are frequented by a limited number of people.
In the period covered by the report (2016 – 2021), an average of 26 drownings of people who cannot swim were recorded each year, with 62% of cases involving immigrants, and the same number due to rip currents; sudden drownings, i.e. due to illness, are on average 58 per bathing season, about 5 for sporting activities and slightly less for falling into the water.
“Available data on drownings indicate the need to prepare a National Beach Safety Plan as recommended by the World Health Organization,” explain the authors of the report.
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