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11 dead, 2 missing in weekend water-related accidents

11 Comments

Eleven people died, one person remains unconscious and two are missing after water-related accidents across Japan over the weekend, police and Fire and Disaster Management Agency officials said Monday.

On Sunday afternoon, at a beach near the Tottori Sand Dunes, two men and a woman were swept away by a strong current, Fuji TV reported. The woman survived but the two men drowned, police said.

In Taragi, Kumamoto Prefecture, two parents jumped into the Kuma river to save their five-year-old daughter who had been playing, but both drowned in the process. A stranger nearby who witnessed the incident jumped in and saved the girl.

In Akiruno, Tokyo, two seven-year-old boys got into difficulties while swimming in the Akikawa river. Rescuers pulled them out, but one of the boys did not survive the ordeal and was pronounced dead at hospital.

In Manazuru, Kanagawa Prefecture, a man in his 60s was found dead after he fell into the sea while walking along the shore and apparently drowned, Fuji reported. Local police said the man may have come to the area to go fishing and while traversing the rocky areas near the beach, he probably lost his footing.

Meanwhile, NHK reported that at a popular swimming area near Kobe, a 46-year-old man who was swimming offshore returned to the beach and then collapsed and died.

Other fatal incidents took place in Kyoto, Ehime, Kagoshima and Okinawa where four deaths were reported.

In Shizuoka and Niigata prefectures, two individuals remained missing Monday after they failed to return from water-related activities.

© Japan Today

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11 Comments
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My condolences to the family & friends of those who were lost. Heart-breaking stuff.

Learning to swim was made mandatory under Australian law for the same very reasons. As any experienced swimmer will tell you, sea swimming and pool swimming are two entirely different kettle of fish, especially when currents and rips are involved. Tragidies such as these could have been avoided if the kids (and adults at a younger age) were trained properly. Such a tragic loss.

8 ( +7 / -0 )

Tragedies such as these could have been avoided if the kids (and adults at a younger age) were trained properly.

I would tend to agree, though rogue waves and sudden flooding represent challenges. I lived near the ocean when I was young, and all the elementary school kids were given "drownproofing" lessons. The lessons basically taught how to survive in the water for a long period of time. I think lessons specific to the dangers in the ocean and lakes around Japan would go a long way toward reducing the number of fatalities in the future.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japan Times had an interesting article a few days ago titled "Technique to prevent drowning catches on" about recent efforts to teach water safety with a technique called "uitemate", or float and wait. Have also seen TV programs that featured this.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It usually is as with almost all things 'panicking' that tends to make things turn in the wrong direction. But it is also something that just don't come easy even with training. I believe 'uitemate' basically means don't panic.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It's not just about learning to swim. I grew up on the beach in Oz and was a surf lifesaver for twenty years (got the skin cancers to prove it). People have to be educated about the ocean and where they should and shouldn't swim. Most people will head to the areas where there are no waves to swim, which is a huge mistake cos that is where the water is running out. You swim where the waves are cos that is where the water is coming in. Sad state of affairs to see so many water related fatalities in one weekend. 11 people is more than the yearly average for the Gold Coast, which sees huge amounts of people in the water over the summer. Admittedly, there are many more lifesavers and flagged swimming areas, but people still choose to ignore them. I should add though, they are mostly international tourists. I pulled half a dozen people out of the surf while surfing in the three years I lived there. It is not difficult to understand where one should swim. The rule in Oz is, no flags, don't swim!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

In Taragi, Kumamoto Prefecture, two parents jumped into the Kuma river to save their five-year-old daughter who had been playing, but both drowned in the process. A stranger nearby who witnessed the incident jumped in and saved the girl.

That is the saddest thing I read in long time, both parents died!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

People have to respect the ocean it can look peaceful and very inviting but also dangerous. Rip tides and pull you out and under one should know how to identify them and swim parallel to get out of them. Sad the two parents lost their lives trying to save their daughter and the daughter survived, now she has no parents!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

OMG Something has to be done soon. 11 people died from water related accidents. That is like a holiday weekend where are the lifeguards ?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Boy Scouts say Reach, Throw, Row, and Go (in that order). US Mil says Reach, Throw, Row, DON'T Go (unless you're trained). The training being how to swim back with a panicky person without getting drowned yourself.

http://www.army.mil/article/51402/reach-throw-row-dont-go

You can follow these four basics steps to help: reach, throw, row and go.

REACH: Hold on to the dock or your boat and reach your hand, a boat oar, a fishing pole, or whatever you have nearby, to the person

THROW: If you can't reach far enough, toss things that float for the person to grab

ROW: If you're in a boat, use the oars to move the boat closer to the person in the water, or call out to a nearby boat for help. Don't use the boat's motor close to a person in the water, they could be injured by the propeller

DON'T GO: Don't go into the water unless you are trained. Call out for help

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I agree with other. In my country swimming is part of our sports curriculum at school, even time test for swimming 1km.

In addition we also learn rescue swimming techniques, exam is 'rescuing' someone while both are fully clothed.

When you go for your driver licence a First Aid course is part of it, even incl CPR.

May the people RIP and their families recover soon.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

RIP for those who died, but again who let's his five year old play alone in a river? in a shallow fountain i can understand but even then i would constantly watch the kid.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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