Three More Drownings To Add To A Steadily Increasing Number
Three bodies have been retrieved from the ocean on Cancun beaches in four days, marking another grim marker in the region’s beach deaths. A fourth died just a week ago in a swimming pool in the area.
Cancun has been marred with multiple tragic drownings since the beginning of the year. With the popularity of Cancun, this is expected but should serve as a cautionary tale for anyone hoping to swim in the pristine waters of the Mexican Caribbean.
The first two of the most recent deaths happened on Monday night after two swimmers were dragged out to sea at Playa Gaviotas. A search was underway soon after the two visitors disappeared, searching the region extensively. The first body was recovered just before midnight after being washed up on the shore.
Inclement weather meant the search had to be halted until the next morning when the second body also washed up around half a kilometer from where the pair went missing. According to multiple reports, shocked bathers came across the lifeless body as they arrived for a day on the beach, before reporting it to the authorities.
The identities of the two have not been officially released already several sources suggest that the first body belonged to a Colombian tourist on vacation in the area. The second was a domestic tourist from the Mexican state of Coahuila. It is unclear if the two knew each other or if they were both caught in the same riptide.
Another body sadly washed up on the beach at Chac Pool on Thursday. The male, currently unidentified, washed up and was found around 7 am in the morning. Once again, he appeared to have been swimming the night before and was dragged out to sea.
Few details have been made clear about the man, as no one was reported missing and he obviously had no identification on him when discovered.
The beaches in Cancun and Quintana Roo all have warning systems in place in the form of colored flags. Depending on the weather conditions, a different color of the flag is flown. If the conditions are especially wavy or have strong riptides, a red or even black flag is flown.
In the case of a red flag, swimmers are advised not to enter, especially if they are unconfident swimmers, although staying in the shallow areas should be okay. When a black flag is shown, the water is extremely dangerous and swimming should be avoided at all costs. Yellow means general caution and a green flag mean the water is safe for swimming.
At this point, it is unclear if the swimmers were ignoring a dangerous swimming warning, or whether bad luck persisted with an unseen riptide that can appear even in calm waters. Many lifeguards have complained that tourists frequently ignore the warning signs on the beach, placing themselves at risk. Many also swim after the actively patrolled hours, meaning if a swimmer finds themselves in trouble there are no lifeguards nearby to assist them.
At least one other person has perished this year while swimming outside of patrolled hours. The South American tourist, who was there for a wedding, was dragged to sea in a riptide before losing energy and drowning. His body was not discovered for some time.
Tourists caught in a riptide should do their best to remain calm. Although the situation may seem scary, it is reasonably easy to deal with and most fatalities come from the panic that engulfs the swimmer.
If caught in a riptide, stay relaxed and swim parallel to the shore. Do not try and swim directly against the current, as exhaustion will eventually set in. If not confident in their swimming abilities, swimmers should let the riptide carry them to the end of its pull. This is generally no further than 25 meters from the coastline. Once the pull has ceased, swim parallel and return to the shore.
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