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More people have already drowned in 2020 than in 2019

A water area (picture is illustrative)
A water area (picture is illustrative) Source: Olev Kenk/ERR

As of the beginning of this week, 37 people have drowned in Estonia this year. In total, 36 people drowned in 2019.

ETV's "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported on Sunday that last year 17 people died in the water over the three months of summer, but this year there has been an increase and 14 people had already drowned by the start of July. 

There are similar stories for many of the deaths and alcohol also plays a part. Some deaths have occurred after people fell into the water, others while people were swimming.

Viktor Saaremets, the head of the prevention department of the Rescue Board (Päästeamet), said that middle-aged drunk men often drown. The majority of deaths occur in lakes and ponds. 

The Rescue Board will now conduct inspections to prevent these kinds of accidents. The rescuers will check if children are wearing life jackets on boats and if people near the water are sober or drunk. 

According to data, 63 percent of people who drowned in May 2020 were drunk. Data is not yet available for June or July.

Saaremets said: "The highest blood alcohol level we recorded was 5.6 per mill which means the person should have already been dead."

He added: "The average blood alcohol content was a bit over 2 per mill. It is still a serious level of intoxication as the person lacks coordination and all their abilities are different." 

The rescuers recommend sober people use their common sense. It means they need to be aware of their abilities as a lot of people don't know how to swim. It is important to know the body of water they are close too – for example, what is at the bottom of the bathing area and how slippery the shores are. 

Tõnis Ristmägi, team leader of the Rescue Board's Nõmme commando, said it is necessary to assess the temperature of the water before going for a swim. In addition to that, the person has to assess if they have enough swimming skills and if they should go swimming alone or not.  


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Editor: Katriin Eikin Sein

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