A study on multiple drowning syndromes

Int J Inj Contr Saf Promot. 2012;19(1):63-7. doi: 10.1080/17457300.2011.603154. Epub 2011 Aug 9.


Non-intentional drowning incidents remain a leading cause of mortality in Turkey as well as all over the world. A following related secondary syndrome is composed of those who drown during altruistic attempts to rescue a drowning person. Such 'rescuers' who attempt to rescue a drowning person, may themselves drown, resulting in a tragic multiple death. This study covers the year 2009, and necessary data was found by using internet search engines to identify cases in which a potential rescue attempt resulted with the rescuer's fatal drowning. Thirty-one 'rescuers' and 20 primary drowning victims (PDV) drowned in 28 incidents in which 80% of drowned primary victims (DPV) were children, and 48.4% of the 'rescuers' were children. In 48.4% of the 'rescuers' succeeded in rescuing the PDV's life. Out of them, 38.7% of the 'rescuers' and PDVs were friends/colleagues. The aim of this study is to define and examine multiple drowning syndromes (MDSs) and to suggest preventative measures. An increased awareness of such risks as promotion of swimming and rescue skills could help reducing the MDSs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dangerous Behavior
  • Drowning / mortality*
  • Drowning / prevention & control*
  • Family
  • Female
  • Friends
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rescue Work*
  • Swimming / education
  • Syndrome
  • Turkey / epidemiology
  • Young Adult