Drowning: A look back at a fateful 48 hours

Drowning: A look back at a fateful 48 hours

Drowning: A look back at a fateful 48 hours

Written by Lahiru Fernando

23 Jan, 2017 | 11:56 pm

Over the past 48 hours…

Eight people have drowned in three separate incidents across Sri Lanka.

January 21 – Mahaweli River

Three schoolboys drowned while swimming in the Mahaweli River. Their parents were told they were heading out for a “school activity”.

The students had joined two other friends instead, and decided to swim in the Mahaweli river in Dunhinda, Gampola.

What happened? – One of the three were caught in the Mahaweli current. The other two drowned while trying to rescue him.

January 22 – Udawalawa Reservoir

Two nineteen year-old school students drowned in the Udawalawa Reservoir. The boys were residents of Haupe and the Uduhaupe area, Nawalakanda.

Navy lifeguards from the Hambantota Navy base recovered one of the bodies in the night. The second was recovered in the early hours of Monday, January 23.

January 23- Muttur sea

Three young men aged 17, 19 and 21 drowned while swimming in the sea off Muttur, Trincomalee. They were residents of Thihariya, Nittambuwa.


Former DIG Kithsiri Dayananda, a former national swimmer pointed out that youth go swimming in lakes and rivers at times, with no knowledge of the environment.

“They do not know the depth, they do not know if there is mud, they do not know if it is dangerous”, he said.

Factors to consider

Chief Adviser of Life Saving School, Sri Lanka Coast Guard – P.K. Edirisinghe.

> Level of physical fitness
> Knowledge of the water depth
> Location and being within sight of other people

Edirisinghe also said that it is best to go swimming in areas marked by red and yellow flags. “that means there are lifeguards on duty,” he pointed out. 

Steps to take

Edirisinghe explained that when one hear a cry for help, others should be informed and a swimmer should be searched for. Even if a swimmer is found, he added, “they must set out with some kind of equipment or a flotation device.”

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