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17 Drown, How Many More In 2003?

January has highlighted the many diverse activities and sites in which people drown in New Zealand.According to figures from Water Safety New Zealand, 17 drownings occurred, 2 below the average for the number of drownings in January over the past five years, but significantly down on the 25 recorded in January 2002.

Ten of the drownings were recreational with five of those swimming related, 3 under water activities, one rafting and one fishing, said Alan Muir Executive Director of Water Safety New Zealand.

“The level of recreational drownings which occurred during January is predictable at this time of year given the warm weather and the high involvement in water related activities during the holiday period.”

There has been a significant amount of publicity about water safety in the public arena with the WSNZ/ACC campaigns focusing on boating, rivers and pools, the ACC ThinkSafe advertisements and the Maritime Safety Authority campaign. “This we believe has all had a positive impact on the publics behaviour and attitude around water in general, said Mr Muir.”

Adding to the recreational toll are non-recreational drownings including three incidents where people died in road vehicle incidents, one toddler in a home pool, one elderly man in a drain, one commercial fisherman and a man attempting to rescue his younger brother.

February is traditionally the second highest month of drownings each year and everyone participating in recreational aquatic activities needs to take appropriate measures to ensure their own safety and the safety of others in their care.

...Ends...

For more information contact
Alan Muir, Executive Director
Phone: (04) 801 9600
Cell: (025) 725 028
Home: (04) 232 7778
Email: alanm@watersafety.org.nz

For regional figures and questions
Brendon Ward, Project Manager
Phone: (04) 801 9600
Cell: (025) 781 836
Fax: (04) 801 9599
Email: bward@watersafety.org.nz

Water Safety New Zealand
PO Box 10126 Wellington
Phone 04-801 9600. Fax 04-801 9599
Website www.watersafety.org.nz

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