How do we fix horror drowning toll?

March 19, 2024 8:23 am in by
Image: 7 News

Frustrated surf lifesavers say they are doing all they can to educate people about the dangers of swimming at unpatrolled beaches, following a tragic drowning at Apollo Bay.

One man died and two others are in hospital after getting into trouble at Marengo on Sunday afternoon.

The three were dragged unconscious from the water by bystanders. One died at the scene while the other two remain in hospital in serious condition.

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It was the third fatal drowning on the Great Ocean Road this year and the 27th in Victoria since the start of summer – the highest number on record.

Paul Shannon from Life Saving Victoria said swimmers are still choosing the wrong beaches to swim at.

“Marengo beach is rated 9 out of 10 in terms of danger, so unless you have extreme capability and understand conditions, it’s not one for the general public to go and recreate at,” he said.

“We’re trying to work with our partners to deliver education programs, advertising campaigns, signage on beaches, but all of those things require active engagement by the participant.”

The three men involved in Sunday’s incident are all understood to be Indian nationals from the Wyndham suburb of Tarneit.

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They are among a growing number of new arrivals and international visitors who find themselves in trouble at Australia’s beautiful but dangerous beaches.

Member for Polwarth Richard Riordan said the drowning was a sad ending to a sunny weekend.

“A community like Apollo Bay, the Surf Club, the local police, medics, they’re all locals living and working there, they’re all volunteers,” Mr Riordan said on the ABC.

“They will be hurting, some of them were there … and have provided a great service.”