Drowning in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria: an autopsy study of 85 cases

Niger Postgrad Med J. 2012 Jun;19(2):111-4.


Aims and objectives: To study the frequency distribution of gender, age, cause and circumstances of drowning in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, using autopsy.

Materials and methods: The autopsies were performed and reported by the authors covering 1st January 1998 to 31st December 2009, inclusive after being served with the coroner's inquest forms by the police. Bio-data and other variables were the age, sex, the environment in which the bodies were recovered and the pattern of death of the victims. The photographs used were taken by police at autopsy.

Results: A total of 85 drowned bodies were studied during the period under review. The youngest was a year old male and the oldest was a 76 year old male. Males were 63 (74.1%) and females 22 (25.9%), giving a male to female ratio of 2.9:1. The highest frequency of death occurred in the age group 50-59 years, 21 (24.7%). Most of the bodies 48 (56.5%) drowned in the river, accidental drowning was the most common circumstances of death, 68 (80.0%) and asphyxial death was the most common pattern of death 72 (84.7%).

Conclusion: Death from drowning is a common but preventable public health problem in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, since most of the victims drowned accidentally mainly due to lifestyle and psychosocial problem.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents / statistics & numerical data
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Asphyxia / epidemiology
  • Autopsy
  • Cause of Death
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Drowning / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nigeria / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rivers
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sex Factors
  • Swimming Pools / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult