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Drowning inquest finds Glenelg beach lifesavers should have hours extended, more signs

ABC News logo ABC News 11.11.2019 04:43:58 By Sara Garcia
a sign on a beach next to the ocean: The coroner has recommended the signs be updated to say there have been fatalities at the breakwater. (ABC News: Stacey Lee) © Provided by Australian Broadcasting CorporationThe coroner has recommended the signs be updated to say there have been fatalities at the breakwater. (ABC News: Stacey Lee)

Extending surf lifesaving hours on Adelaide's Glenelg beach and adding warning signs that people have died near the breakwater are among key recommendations of an inquest looking into the drownings of three children at the beach.

South Australia's deputy coroner said more children may have died if the incident that led to the drowning deaths of best friends Frank Ndikuriyo and Thiery Niyomungere had occurred later in the evening.

The boys, both aged 11 and originally from Burundi in central Africa, drowned on New Year's Day in 2016 while swimming near the Glenelg breakwater with three other children.

Almost two years later in December 2017, Indian student Nitisha Negi, 15, drowned along the same section of the Adelaide coast.

Nitisha was in Australia to participate in the Pacific School Games, and died when she was swept into the sea while playing on the rocks with four other children.

Findings into the three deaths were handed down by deputy state coroner Anthony Schapel today.

In his findings, Mr Schapel said it had been lucky surf lifesavers were still at the beach at the time of the boys' drownings as they had been due to finish their shift at 6:00pm.

"If the incidents had unfolded perhaps as little as 30 minutes later than they did, there may not have been the same level of surf lifesaving expertise present at the beach, rescue efforts may not have been as effective and more children may have died," Mr Schapel said.

"The observation that lifesaving services are only provided on a formal basis to 6:00pm on busy and/or hot days at the beach is not meant to be any form of criticism.

"However, the observation is naturally irresistible that given that there is a significant period of daylight after 6:00pm, incidents such as those that led to the deaths of the three children could conceivably occur after that time, especially if the day is hot."

Mr Schapel said there was no signage at the breakwater at the time of the boys' drownings, but since then there was now "a virtual forest of signage, both permanent and moveable".

Structures that hinder rescues 'shouldn't be erected'

He recommended the signage be updated to warn beachgoers that there had been fatalities at the breakwater.

He also recommended that structures, such as an inflatable water slide, which could hinder or obstruct lifesavers should not be erected in the vicinity of the club.

Lifesaver Jared Schenscher told the inquest that the slide, known as the "Big Wedgie" had got in the way of rescuers on the day the two boys died.

Mr Schapel also recommended a public awareness campaign conducted through print and broadcast media outlets, warning of the dangers associated with the breakwater at Glenelg beach.

11. marraskuuta 2019 6:43:58 Categories: ABC News RTBF tendance - deco-design

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