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Drowning deaths in Australia up 71% over summer holiday period


A recent report from the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia shows a dramatic escalation in the number of drowning deaths this summer.

In the period from the 24th of December to the 12th of January, 41 people drowned – a 71% increase on the same period 12 months ago.

Royal Life Saving’s CEO Rob Bradley said thousands of people have been affected by these 41 drowning deaths, which he described as deeply troubling.

Surf lifesaving flag at Kingston Beach

Surf lifesaving flag at Kingston Beach

“Frankly, we are horrified and we remind people to make sure you are swimming at a recognised swimming location.  Do not over-estimate your ability,” he said.

Mr Bradley said the drownings happened at many different water locations.

“A common misconception is that most drownings happen at the beach. Inland waterways are very treacherous. Rivers and lakes may appear on the surface to be calm and tranquil but can be very dangerous,” Mr Bradley said.

In Tasmania, 10 surf life saving clubs provide volunteer patrol services on weekends from December to March.

Kingston beach, in the south of the state, is patrolled during these months on Sundays and public holidays.

Kingston beach patrol captain Phil Leishman said swimming between the flags is the safest way to go, but that not everyone heeds that message.

“The parents will bring the younger kids in here, but the teenagers will always go outside because it’s not cool, they don’t think it’s cool to swim between the flags,” he said.

Watch chair and surf lifesavers on Kingston Beach

Surf life savers on Kingston Beach

Kingston Beach with flags

Kingston Beach on a public holiday

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Filed under Health, National News, State and Local

Lee Troop and Hanny Allston triumph in inaugural Hobart Run the Bridge

The inaugural Hobart Run the Bridge was won today by interstate athlete Lee Troop, and Tasmanian Hanny Allston.

Troop covered the hilly 10 kilometre course in a time of 29minutes 41 seconds, finishing ahead of Shane Nankervis and Mark Tucker.

Troop smashed predications that the hilly course would be difficult to run under 30 minutes.

“I made the call that the race would be decided by the top of the bridge, and I think from that point it was,” he said.

Asked about his tactics for the race, Troop said “the gun went off, and I ran like I stole something.”

Runners at start line of Hobart run the Bridge

Runners at start line of Hobart run the Bridge

World champion orienteer Hanny Allston won the women’s event in a time of 35minutes and 24 seconds, followed by two other Tasmanians: event ambassador and Olympic steeplechaser Donna MacFarlane, and Australian 3000 metre champion Mel Daniels.

Allston said she was happy with her time and enjoyed the course.

“Yeah it was good, it’s so scenic, but obviously it was tough with the hills,” she said.

The event began at Bellerive Oval, before taking runners across the Hobart bridge, where lanes of traffic were closed for the first time for a running race.

The event then passed through Hobart’s waterfront before finishing in Salamanca place.

Over 1300 runners and walkers took part in the event, which supported the charity Variety.

World champion axeman David Foster and former Australian cricketer David Boon led walking teams in the event.

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Filed under Sport, State and Local