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Child, elderly tourist drown off Greek beaches


09:10, May 27, 2013

ATHENS, May 26 (Xinhua) -- A six year old Greek boy and a 65 year old female tourist drown off beaches across Greece within a few hours during the weekend, as authorities launch a campaign to address the worrying pattern of increasing number of accidental such deaths every summer.

The six year old child drown as he was swimming without constant supervision by his grandmother along other three children off the coast of western Peloponnese peninsula, local media reported. Swimmers tried to save him, but failed.

The 65 year old tourist drown at a beach in the southern Aegean Sea island of Crete near the port city of Herakleion.

According to local media, she lost consciousness and despite the intervention of a life guard, she succumbed at the local hospital. Her nationality has not been revealed by authorities yet.

The two tragedies were reported, as Greek authorities launch a new awareness campaign at the start of the summer season to avoid such incidents as much as possible this year.

In 2012, according to official data from the Coast Guard released to the Greek national news agency AMNA recently, a total of 396 persons drowned across Greece. It was one of the highest rates in Europe and is regarded as a particularly negative record for a sea nation.

According to previous Coast Guard statistics, the number of people drowning in Greece every summer is on the rise since 2008. In 2008 there were 283 deaths recorded, in 2009 a total of 327, in 2010 at least 371 and the same number the next year.

The increasing trend has been linked by some experts to the economic crisis which has hit the country since 2009. Due to cuts on public spending and heavy recession, several municipalities and private seaside resorts seem to have been hiring less life guards compared to the past. According to official statistics, there have been 468 beaches with life guards in 2011 and 361 last year.

The Coast Guard announced last week the start of an awareness campaign to prevent such deaths. In the first phase of the program, at least 5,500 elementary school pupils in Athens will receive leaflets with advice regarding safe behaviour at the beach.

Children and adults, with focus on elderly with health problems, are advised for example to avoid swimming after heavy meals.

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:MaXi、Yao Chun)

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