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Woman drowns while trying to rescue girls in river


A 49-year-old woman died after attempting to rescue two children who fell into the Hikigawa River in Shirahama, Wakayama Prefecture, police said.

According to police, the occurred at around 12:45 p.m. on Sunday. Two elementary school girls, aged 8 and 10, were playing near the edge of the river when they slipped and fell into the water, Sankei Shimbun reported. The mother of the 10-year-old girl jumped in to try and save the two children, but she got into difficulties and was swept away by currents before going under.

She was later found in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest and confirmed dead at the hospital. The 8-year-old girl is in a critical condition, while the 10-year-old girl managed to get to shore safely on her own.

Police said the deceased woman,Yukiko Tokuda, a nursing facility worker, was at the river with her daughter and four other elementary school students.

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Horrible tragedy, so sad for the surviving daughter as well as the 8-year old.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Yukiko Tokuda, you are a credit to your grieving family and your nation. RIP

Next time someone calls a sports star a hero think about this woman.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

Very sad indeed. :(

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Very sad, I wonder if there was, or is any life saving devices near the river bank. I hope the other child makes a full recovery.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Terrible news. RIP. Very sad.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Very sad indeed.

If you are in a position to educate people about swimming I encourage you to do so. Encourage them to help others also. Water knowledge could possibly have prevented this tragedy.

I have trained many in my area and it has not been enough. Even here locally there are a surprising number of people of all ages who are not comfortable with water and we live on the beach.

Too sad.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

She may not have been "trying". She may have died after succeeding. It depends largely on if the 8 year old survives. Hopefully she will.

One of my students was telling me how her husband took their daughter to play in the river. This type of news is all too common so my immediate thought was "It sounds like a bad idea."

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

So sad.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How do save someone if you can’t swim?

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Sad news.

I hope the other child pulls through.

Yukiko Tokuda is a hero!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

A tragedy indeed! All elementary school kids should be taught to swim. In Australia pre-school kids have to pass a 25m swimming test to enter elementary school.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

A very sad story.

Reminds me of a tragedy that happened to a worker at a company I was at. He took his son fishing in a row boat. A storm came up, and they were thrown into the water. The father managed to put the one life preserver onto his son, but the father eventually succumbed. The life preserver kept his son afloat.

It is amazing how beautiful is the water, whether in a river, lake, or the ocean, but it can be very dangerous for us humans.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

She did not know how to swim? Information is seriously missing from this heartbreaking story. Did a grindilow grab her ankles and pull her under? What the heck happened?????

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Children are taught swimming in school, and even have drills about what to do if you fall into the water fully clothed. Depending on the depth of the water and strength of current (which is not always determinable by sight alone) it can be very easy for a panicked fully-clothed woman to be swept away, especially if she's not a regular swimmer.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

As for teaching kids how to swim, it'd help if school pools were deeper than 1.5 meters in some parts.

They get no experience swimming in water where their feet can't touch the bottom.

I'm not saying that's what happened here at the river, but it'd go a long way in helping prevent other incidents.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How do save someone if you can’t swim?

Even if she was a trained lifeguard with experience, fast moving water can be deadly. We were taught never to enter water like that without a team, being tied off, flotation belt/vest, and a safety rope downstream that could be grabbed should anything unexpected happen.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Does Nihon promote swimming instruction in the schools?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

silhouette - Children are taught swimming in school, and even have drills about what to do if you fall into the water fully clothed. 

Unfortunately, this is only very few children - those who have pools in their school and, it’s mostly only junior high schools.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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