Thursday, 8 July 2010
Drowning, not waving
Of course, someone who is thrashing about in the water calling for help is probably in trouble, but they are not actually drowning. Drowing is a much quieter, much more horrible process, as I discovered from this article by Mario Vittone of the US Coastguard.
As they drown, victims go into spasm and are unable to call for help or move much at all. They put their head back in a desperate last attempt to reach the air, holding their arms sideways. Their head may bob up a few times before they sink. The process can take under a minute and entirely silent. And because most of us (including me) don't know what drowning looks like, a staggering 10 per cent of child drownings happen as an adult is actually watching, not understanding what is happening.
Thanks to David Greybeal for the headsup. Image by Paul Kondritz.