Almost half of drowning deaths linked to drinking, new research finds _ bega district news

A woman was so drunk that after she nearly drowned in the Murray River on Christmas Day, she offered her rescuers a sherry, a witness alleged.

With his father in law, Mr Clarke from Melbourne jumped into the Murray at Noreuil Park in Albury to save the woman whose leg was stuck in a tree.

It found more than 40 per cent of the 770 people who drowned in Australia’s inland waterways in the past 10 years had been drinking, It confirms the strong link between alcohol, drownings and reckless behaviour in the water.


Of those adults who had been drinking and subsequently drowned, 70 per cent would have failed a random breath test on the roads, says the paper to be published in January’s edition of Accident Analysis and Prevention.

About 40 per cent of adults who had been drinking before they drowned had a blood alcohol reading of more than 0.20, four times the legal limit. Regional rural bank notification Another nine per cent had drunk 0.10 to 0.19, and four per cent registered 0.05 to 0.09, said the report.

After seven drowning deaths in NSW in the past few days, it could be time to consider the introduction of random breath testing for swimming, said Justin Scarr, the chief executive of the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia.

On Thursday, police were also searching for another man, who was feared to have drowned when he went swimming in the Murray near Wagga in heavy denim shorts.

“Although it sounds un-Australian, the strong link between drinking and drowning while swimming or supervising children around water may call for such measures,” he said on Wednesday.

The role of alcohol in this week’s fatalities is not known yet, but several deaths occurred in inland waterways where young people were horsing around.

The new research by the RLSSA’s national manager for research and policy, Amy Peden, also found that fewer than one in six children had been drinking.

Volunteer rescue diver Peter Wright’s team has pulled the bodies of close to 50 people who have drowned out of the Murray River near Albury – the worst black spot for drownings in the most dangerous river in Australia – in the past 37 years.

“Some of these diving jobs go for two or three days, and to front up there, to see the grief on these people’s faces. Regional rural bank recruitment 2014 You just can’t bear it – it tears your heart out,” said Mr Wright.

“Alcohol is a major contributing factor. Nwabiagya rural bank If you have been drinking, and you get into trouble, you will drown. Regional rural bank recruitment 2016 If you are a poor swimmer, and you get into trouble in the river, you will drown,” he said. Imus rural bank “It is the avoidable nature of these drownings that is the frustrating thing about them,” said Mr Wright. Manipur rural bank He volunteers with the Corowa Rescue Squad, which often works with the Albury and Border Rescue Squad.

Mr Wright, 62, is the longest serving and medically certified rescue diver in the NSW Volunteer Rescue Association yet he is determined to keep diving because there are so few volunteers.

He says the number-one reason people die or struggle in the water is because they panic, and that’s more likely to occur when people have been drinking.

“Alcohol with water is extremely hazardous, whether you are boating or swimming. Rural bank branches You get no second chances. Amenfiman rural bank If you are in the river, and you have had a bellyful of alcohol and you get into trouble, the chances are you will drown. Rural bank online And alcohol and the river, they just don’t mix,” he said.

“All too often, it is either extremely young children who we have had to recover in the river because their parents haven’t supervised them correctly, and that’s tragic, or [because of] alcohol, which is a big player. Regional rural bank merger latest news We have numerous people who have no respect for the river, and alcohol increases their risk … Elders rural bank and they drink too much alcohol going fishing, craying, swimming across the river. Rural bank limited It is just really tragic,” he said.

Ms Peden said the research also found a strong link between reckless behaviour late at night and early in the morning by men – often on the way home from the pub, for example. Ahantaman rural bank Alcohol was also associated with jumping off bridges or trees into water.

“With the warmer weather and holidays, people are consuming more alcohol and recreating in and around our rivers. Regional rural bank officer scale 1 salary Our study found in 65 per cent of river drowning cases during summer, the victim had a blood alcohol content greater than or equal to 0.05 per cent.”

“We’re urging people during this festive period to avoid alcohol around water, make sure you finish your aquatic activity before you start drinking and if you’ve had a few drinks don’t get back in the water or operate watercraft.”

She said while the police had done a good job of reducing drunk driving on the roads, there was much less enforcement on rural roads and on the water, where rules on alcohol and boating vary from state to state.

A study in Finland also found alcohol was present in nearly 64 per cent of water traffic accidents causing fatalities, while American research found alcohol present in 47 per cent of drownings in Maryland.