Today we read with great sadness about a 17-year-old boy who drowned, with friends watching, at Deep lake at Nolte State Park near Enumclaw. It is unbearable to imagine the grief of the family. The thought of these teenagers having a great time on a warm summer afternoon to have it end in tragedy causes great sadness.
According to the article in The Seattle Times, “..the boy, who was with a church group from Yakima, looked like he needed help, but they thought he was joking. A friend called 911 when they realized he was drowning.”
According to the Red Cross, when teenagers drown, all too often witnesses say, “I thought he was fooling around.”
So, we thought it was time to remind our readers to be vigilant in the myriad of rivers and lakes in the Puget Sound region and take a minute to learn about what drowning looks like. Obviously, these teens did not have the proper training to know that their friend was in trouble before it was too late.
Unintentional Drowning — 5th Leading Cause of Accidental Death
Every day, 10 Americans die in an accidental drowning. Nearly 80% of drowning victims are males and 20% of those who drown are 14 and under. Drowning is the 5th leading cause of accidental death in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention.
It is believed that the higher rate of death among teenage boys is caused by both peer pressure and going beyond one’s own limits. Teenagers often go out too far and for too long.
We all imagine that drowning encompasses violent thrashing and yells for help. This is aquatic fear but drowning is most often a QUIET event.
What Drowning Looks Like
- Drowning people are not able to call for help.
- Drowning people sink below the surface and reappear but in the brief time they are above water, they don’t have time to call for help.
- Drowning people do not wave for help as, instinctively, their arms are leveraging their mouth above water.
- Drowning people do not kick and can only remain above the surface for short periods of time.
Signs of drowning include:
- mouth at water level
- head tilted back
- glassy or closed eyes
- inability to use legs to kick
- gasping for breath
- attempting to swim or roll on the back
- or, climbing motions.
In the Pacific Northwest, our waters tend to be very cold even when daytime air temperatures reach 80 degrees. Cold water immersion can induce a cold shock response and they can be incapacitated very quickly.
It is important that people learn to swim, swim with a buddy, swim in areas supervised by lifeguards. See the American Red Cross for more information.
This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We are a personal injury law firm in Bellevue, Washington, representing accident victims and their families for more than 40 years.