Drownings Back Up with 34 Deaths in 2013

As swim season closes, data shows drowning deaths back up in 2013.

Maayana Miskin,

Lifeguard tower (illustrative)
Lifeguard tower (illustrative)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The number of drowning deaths increased in 2013 after a steady decrease from 2010 to 2012, the Ministry of the Interior reports.

A total of 34 people died of drowning at Israel’s beaches over the swimming season. Roughly 90% of drowning deaths occurred at beaches with no lifeguard on duty, whether at beaches where swimming is not authorized, or at authorized beaches but after authorized swimming hours had ended.

Ninety-five percent of those who died of drowning were men, and 50% were over the age of 45. Nine percent were children and teenagers.

Twenty percent of the drowning fatalities were tourists or foreign workers, while 80% were Israeli citizens. Seventeen percent were Israeli Arabs.

From 2000 to 2009, roughly 45 people died of drowning each year, but in 2010 a decrease began. Thirty-eight fatal drownings took place in 2010, 33 in 2011, and 26 in 2012.

Interior Ministry officials said two factors in particular contributed to the higher death rate in 2013: particularly high, dangerous waves, and a short jellyfish season, which meant that jellyfish kept bathers out of the water for a shorter than average period of time.

The 2013 swim season officially came to a close last week. However, 33 beaches will continue to provide lifeguards until the end of October, and 29 beaches will remain open for the duration of the winter.

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