October 02, 2013 - 5:30 AM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - Despite a spike earlier this summer, accidental drownings in B.C. plateaued mid-summer and were actually fewer than they were last year.
According to the B.C. Coroners Service, water claimed 54 lives across the province between January and August of this year. That’s ten more than were recorded in mid-July when authorities reported a drastic upswing.
The large majority of the drownings occurred in the warm months of May to August. This year, there were 42 in that time period.
“What was concerning to us was that in the third week of July, there was a large number in a short period of time,” Dale Miller, executive director of the Lifesaving Society B.C. and Yukon branch says. “We worried the trend would continue and we’d have the highest numbers ever.”
There were 14 drownings in May, five in June, 15 in July and eight in August. Since January, 11 women have died in accidental drownings compared to 43 men.
As usual, Interior waters claimed the most lives with 22 of the deaths, or 41 per cent. Okanagan Lake made the top four list for drownings, with a recorded three deaths in July and August. Ten lives have been lost in that lake over the past four years.
What is most concerning to Miller is a fourfold increase in the 18-24 year old category over last year. So far this year, 18 people, or 30 per cent, of drowning victims were in that age group. In 2012, there were four, in 2011 nine, and 2010, 12.
“That’s a dramatic increase,” Miller says.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013