A study on rescuer drowning and multiple drowning incidents

J Safety Res. 2012 Apr;43(2):129-32. doi: 10.1016/j.jsr.2012.05.001. Epub 2012 May 18.


Introduction: Drowning is a leading cause of injury related death in many countries, including Turkey, where this study originates. The aim of the study is to define and examine "rescuer" drowning and Multiple Drowning Incidents (MDIs), and suggest preventative measures against MDIs.

Method: The event of a person drowning can be complicated if an untrained person attempts to rescue the Primary Drowning Victim (PDV). This can result in the death of the "rescuer" as well as the PDV, which then becomes an MDI. This study categorizes these MDI incidents by examining online news media accounts in Turkey from 2005 through 2008.

Results: In this 4-year period, 88 "rescuer" drowning incidents occurred in which 114 "rescuers" and 60 PDVs died from drowning in MDIs; 114 drowned "rescuers" rescued 47 PDVs before they died from drowning. Most of the "rescuers" were male and 42.1% of them were under the age of 18. Most of the drowning incidents (68.5%) occurred in fresh water (lakes/dams/water holes and rivers/creeks/streams).

Conclusion: In this study, risk factors for drowning deaths include gender and entering in unguarded open water. An increased awareness of such risks as well as promotion of both swimming and rescue skills in water could help reduce MDIs. Parents who live close to fresh water sources with boys under the age of 18years should be more aware of drowning risk because of their higher rates of deaths from drowning.

Impact on industry: The results of this study give the chance to policy makers and all other related people or organizations to see the whole picture of deaths by drowning and the results can be used to build up preventative strategies as swimming teaching and life guard education.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Drowning / epidemiology*
  • Drowning / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Fresh Water
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rescue Work / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sex Distribution
  • Turkey / epidemiology
  • Young Adult