Spate of drownings, near misses prompts renewed warnings near water

Seven known drownings since Christmas

In the past few days, amid a fierce heatwave, there have been five drownings in Australian waters.

The incredible weather much of the country is enjoying at the moment, and time off from work, has meant people are flocking to the beach or keeping cool in a pool.

During a time where people should be celebrating with their loved ones, three Victorians and one South Australian woman have died, however.

Three of the deaths happened on Boxing Day and one on Christmas Day.

A four-year-old girl almost drowned in a pool in Sydney on Boxing Day.

On Tuesday, a five-year-old girl was pulled from Lake Nagambie in Victoria.

Before Christmas, as the weather warmed up, surf life savers from around Australia were gearing up for an influx of people at the beach and subsequent drownings.

Surf Life Saving Australia said the past 12 months had been the deadliest seen across Australia, with 141 drowning deaths.

Nearly half of those deaths happened within five kilometres of a life saving service.

How to stay safe this summer

SLSA Coastal Safety general manager Shane Daw said there was a safe way for people to enjoy Australia’s beaches this summer.

The safest way for all Australians to enjoy our coastline this summer is to find a patrolled beach and swim between the red and yellow flags,” he said.

He said there were 314 patrolled beaches in Australia; people could find where they were through the BeachSafe app or online.

“If you do find yourself at an unpatrolled location, stop and check where you are, look for hazards like rips, large waves or rocks, and have a plan to stay safe before entering the water,” he said.

SLSA also advises people to wear a lifejacket if they are heading out on a boat or watercraft, or going rock fishing.

If people were out on the water, they should avoid alcohol and drugs, while children needed to be supervised at all times in and around water, SLSA said.

Before heading out people should check the weather conditions.

Pictured is people at Bondi Beach in Sydney

People are being urged to be careful and safe while in the water. Photo: Getty

Authorities issue warnings following drownings

Following the four drownings, authorities in Victoria and South Australia have issued warnings, hoping people will heed the advice and stay safe.

We have had a tragic end to the festive season, with three people losing their lives in just 24 hours,” Victoria Police said on Twitter on Tuesday.

“With extreme heat warnings across the state, we are reminding everyone planning on hitting beaches, rivers or creeks to remain vigilant and alert.”

Of the three people to die after drowning in Victoria, one was a man believed to be in his 30s and another was a teenager.

The man who died on Christmas Day in Lorne was 19, police said.

On Monday night, police also rescued two sisters, aged 10 and 11, struggling off St Kilda Pier.

Officers from the Mounted Branch managed to rescue both girls and neither were seriously injured.

Life Saving Victoria said in addition to the three fatal drownings, there were three serious incidents and 48 rescues in just 24 hours.

“With temperatures expected to hit 37 degrees Celsius today, we’re urging people to prioritise safety around water,” Life Saving Victoria said on Tuesday.

“Your life could depend on it.”

South Australia Police confirmed the death of a woman aged in her 70s near Seacliff on Monday night.

Paramedics tried to revive her after she was pulled from the water, but she died at the scene.

In Sydney, a young girl is being treated in hospital after she was pulled from a pool in Wentworth Park on Monday night.

People at the scene performed CPR on her before paramedics arrived and continued treatment. She was rushed to Westmead Children’s Hospital.

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