Year 2022 with highest number of drowning deaths in Portugal in 18 years

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The year 2022 was the one with the most drowning deaths in Portugal in the last 18 years, with 157 cases, according to the national report of the Drowning Observatory, released today.

According to a document from this observatory of the Portuguese Federation of Lifeguards (Fepons), 118 men died last year, corresponding to 75.2% of the fatalities, and 38 women (24.2%), with one death of unknown sex.

In 2021, there had been 101 drowning deaths, comprising 69 males, 31 females and one victim of unknown sex.

According to last year’s report, 54.8% of the 2022 victims were over the age of 40 and 21% were under the age of 25.

There were 17 nationalities recorded in deaths by drowning (Portuguese is the most represented, with 25 deaths), but in 105 cases it was not possible to determine the nationality.

The data also indicates that in 35% of deaths there was a rescue attempt, but 93.6% were in unguarded locations, especially inland, with more deaths in this part of the country than on the coast.

On the other hand, 61.1% of deaths occurred in the afternoon.

Of the 157 recorded cases, 37.6% occurred at sea, 34.4% in a river, 9.6% in dams, 5.7% in a well and 3.2% in domestic swimming pools (marinas, ponds and lakes are among the remaining drowning contexts).

About a fifth of deaths (21%) were recorded in recreational bathing, with 7% also recorded in recreational fishing with a rod, 3.8% in car falls into the water, 3.8% in walks by the water, 2.5% in diving without a bottle and 2.5% in fishing from a boat.

The district that registered the most fatal incidents was Porto, with 15.3%, followed – in the list of the five most affected territories – by the districts of Lisbon (13.4%), Faro (8.9%), Braga (8.3%) and the Azores region (6.4%).

According to the data, all months of the year had drowning deaths, with August and September having the most deaths (14.6%). This was followed by July (12.7%) and June (10.2%).

Today marks World Drowning Prevention Day, proclaimed by Resolution 75/76 adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 14 April 2021.

The aim is to remember the profound impact of drowning on families and communities, and to encourage life-saving measures and ways to prevent such accidents.

With the release of the report’s data on this day, Fepons hopes to “educate people to follow the most basic safety rules, because people are not numbers, but these numbers are people”.

 

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