16 drown in first half of 2018, one in three drunk
The number of deaths by drowning shrank in the first half of 2018 to 16 from the 20 reported for the first half of 2017. A third of the people who drowned between January and June this year were drunk at the time of the accident.
ERR's radio news reported on Tuesday that careless behaviour on lake and sea ice in the winter months contributed to the number. Expert at the Rescue Board's accident prevention division, Mikko Virkala, told ERR that the ice can be assumed to be safe only where the authorities have measured its thickness and where roads across it are officially open.
"If people decide themselves to drive out on the ice, as was the case with the sad accident in Munalaid, the consequences are usually tragic," Virkala said.
Eight people drowned after falling into the water. Four died when their vehicle broke through the ice, three while fishing. One swimmer drowned as well.
"We need to stress the fact more that you can't let your drunk friend go in the water, and that you need to keep them away from bodies of water close to your home as well," Virkala said, adding that it also helps to make sure that it isn't possible to easily slip or fall into lakes and ponds of that kind.
Private security company G4S keeping watch on 21 beaches
More than 100 lifeguards of private security company G4S are guarding 21 popular beaches this summer. According to the company's communications director, Reimo Raja, the behaviour of people on the beach has recently improved. The biggest issue at this point is broken bottles and other glass shards.
Raja also suggests parents keep an eye on their children when they're in the water, as it was often easy for the kids to suddenly get into deeper water.
"It's extremely important to never leave your children unattended. Looking at those cases where there was a danger of drowning, mostly little kids were involved," Raja pointed out.
Another potential danger are all kinds of water wings, swimming belts and the like. "They can carry children away from the shore, suddenly deflate, or the kid can end up on their head in deeper water and get stuck underwater," Raja added.
Editor: Dario Cavegn