More, older, in drowning stats

Tairawhiti contributed to a spike in the number of drowning-related hospitalisations in 2018, but the number of drownings here dropped to just one during the year, according to Water Safety New Zealand.

“There was one preventable drowning fatality in the Gisborne district last year, that involved a diving accident,” Water Safety NZ chief executive officer Jonty Mills said.

“But there were four hospitalisations in the region, three involving men and one was a woman.

Three were Maori and one was New Zealand European.”

One was in the 35–44 age range, another 45–54, another 15-24, and a child aged under four years. The single preventable drowning in the district last year happened at the end of January 2018 when a man in his early 40s drowned while diving for seafood at Kaiti Beach.

“Nationally we saw older New Zealanders drown in growing numbers last year and drowning related hospitalisations spiked,” Mr Mills said.

The official 2018 calendar year drowning toll was down significantly on 2017.

“But the number of preventable fatalities involving people over the age of 45 is on the rise and we feel it is a growing trend.”

In Tairawhiti in 2017 there were two preventable drowning fatalities, both young children, and involving home pools.

There were two hospitalisations that year, both male and Maori, one child aged under four and the other aged in the 15-24 bracket.

Mr Mills said the spike in drowning- related hospitalisations nationally was a concern as stretched frontline services such as Coastguard and Surf Life Saving New Zealand continued to rescue people in record numbers over the summer months.

Gisborne lifeguards rescued 25 people over summer in 17 rescue situations, a number of which were “life or death” situations.

“While the final number of preventable drowning fatalities nationally for 2018 is 66, the second lowest since records began, and down from 91 in 2017, the toll for those aged over 65 is the highest since 1990.

“In 31 percent of the incidents drugs and/or alcohol was involved.

“Across the country 67 percent of all preventable drowning fatalities were people aged over 35.

“Adults in this country continue to over-estimate their abilities and under estimate the risks when it comes to water” Mr Mills said.

“Alcohol, drugs and water-based activities do not mix and can be a fatal combination.”

Recent research by WSNZ revealed older generations do not consider themselves as at risk as younger people, while the drowning data suggests otherwise.

“The reality is the 65-plus age group also had the highest number of preventable drowning fatalities, 41, over the past three years.

“The rise in drowning-related hospitalisations especially for young people is a concern, with 40 incidents involving under-fives last year.”

Tairawhiti contributed to a spike in the number of drowning-related hospitalisations in 2018, but the number of drownings here dropped to just one during the year, according to Water Safety New Zealand.

“There was one preventable drowning fatality in the Gisborne district last year, that involved a diving accident,” Water Safety NZ chief executive officer Jonty Mills said.

“But there were four hospitalisations in the region, three involving men and one was a woman.

Three were Maori and one was New Zealand European.”

One was in the 35–44 age range, another 45–54, another 15-24, and a child aged under four years. The single preventable drowning in the district last year happened at the end of January 2018 when a man in his early 40s drowned while diving for seafood at Kaiti Beach.

“Nationally we saw older New Zealanders drown in growing numbers last year and drowning related hospitalisations spiked,” Mr Mills said.

The official 2018 calendar year drowning toll was down significantly on 2017.

“But the number of preventable fatalities involving people over the age of 45 is on the rise and we feel it is a growing trend.”

In Tairawhiti in 2017 there were two preventable drowning fatalities, both young children, and involving home pools.

There were two hospitalisations that year, both male and Maori, one child aged under four and the other aged in the 15-24 bracket.

Mr Mills said the spike in drowning- related hospitalisations nationally was a concern as stretched frontline services such as Coastguard and Surf Life Saving New Zealand continued to rescue people in record numbers over the summer months.

Gisborne lifeguards rescued 25 people over summer in 17 rescue situations, a number of which were “life or death” situations.

“While the final number of preventable drowning fatalities nationally for 2018 is 66, the second lowest since records began, and down from 91 in 2017, the toll for those aged over 65 is the highest since 1990.

“In 31 percent of the incidents drugs and/or alcohol was involved.

“Across the country 67 percent of all preventable drowning fatalities were people aged over 35.

“Adults in this country continue to over-estimate their abilities and under estimate the risks when it comes to water” Mr Mills said.

“Alcohol, drugs and water-based activities do not mix and can be a fatal combination.”

Recent research by WSNZ revealed older generations do not consider themselves as at risk as younger people, while the drowning data suggests otherwise.

“The reality is the 65-plus age group also had the highest number of preventable drowning fatalities, 41, over the past three years.

“The rise in drowning-related hospitalisations especially for young people is a concern, with 40 incidents involving under-fives last year.”

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