Illustration ISTOCK

The 2016 vacation season has been an unusually busy one for emergency responders, with 217 calls to rescue bathers from drowning, MDA officials say.

Over the past two and a half months, first responders were called to rescue or provide aid to 125 people in instances of drowning or near-drowning on beaches along the Mediterranean alone.

The MDA responded to another 10 such instances at beaches along the Dead Sea, 4 along beaches in the Red Sea in Eilat, and 4 at beaches around the Kinneret.

In addition there were 20 drowning incidents reported at public pools, 8 at private pools, and 1 case at a reservoir, and another case at a body of water in a national park.

Of the 217 cases, 38 were fatal.

MDA Director Eli Bin said the organization had prepared for the busy summer season.

“MDA units are in the midst of special summer operations in light of the many risks during this season including the [elevated] drowning risk when much of the Israeli public visits the beach or pools. We are ready and prepared for any incident or occurrence anywhere, and we are working day and night on this life-saving mission.”