KOCHI: The death of two 13-year-old boys who drowned while swimming in a pond just two kilometres from their houses at Kalamassery was a shocker to local residents last Friday. The deceased -- Fardheen, son of Firoz of Alanka Prambu, and Abdul Rahiman, son of Mujeeb of Thottathil Parambu, both at Koonamthai — along with other children reached the pond to practise swimming around 5.30pm on the day. Though the duo used a rubber lifebuoy while practising, they lost control and drowned. The children practised swimming without trainers.
According to official figures, this is not just a one-off case. The district witnessed around 16 deaths due to drowning in the past three months alone. Of these, the majority of victims were below the age of 20.
Now with the mercury level soaring, many take a dip in water bodies, Besides, the vacation days are nearing when more such incidents are likely to happen. According to the officials, challenging days are ahead. Though the government has adopted a slew of measures to prevent deaths due to drowning, including a decision to introduce swimming in the school curriculum, all of these have failed to achieve their objective, it seems.
The Fire and Rescue Services Department had introduced a ‘safety beat’ mechanism to prevent deaths due to drowning and equip society to tackle water-related emergencies. In the backdrop of the rising number of drowning incidents in the district, the Fire and Rescue Services has identified water bodies that pose risks and placed life jackets and buoys on the banks. Besides, indication boards also have been placed in various locations.
Earlier, the officials had organised training sessions on swimming for schoolchildren. If basic lessons are imparted to children, they behave more responsibly while venturing into the water, said officials.“So far this year, the district has reported more drowning cases than the corresponding period in the previous years. Drowning incidents can very well be prevented,” said A S Jogi, District Fire Officer.
Though the water bodies look inviting, the people should aware of the conditions before venturing into them, he added. To create awareness among the public, warning boards will be placed near the water bodies indicating the dangers, he added.The department has already around 100 scuba divers in the district. As per official figures, on average, the state reports three drowning incidents everyday and 60 per cent of the victims are below the age of 30. Drowning stood second to road accidents in claiming lives.