The dark side of Midsummer 2019 – one dead, 50 drunk drivers, and nearly 300 injured in Latvia

Every emergency service appraises this year's Līgo night differently. The State Fire and Rescue Service (VUGD) notes that this year's festival was relatively peaceful. The view is also shared by the State Police, despite its investigation into the case of a person who was run over near Carnikava. The Emergency Medical Care Services (NMPD), however, has had a tough night, reported LSM's Latvian service on June 24.

VUGD spokeswoman Inta Palkavniece claimed that this year's festival passed quietly: “The celebration of Līgo, from the perspective of VUGD, was peaceful – no one was injured or died in fire accidents.”

On June 23, VUGD received more than 150 calls, the majority of which, 82 calls, were to report a fire. 13 calls turned out to be series cases, while 57 were false alarms. “We see it as a positive tendency, because people decide to call rather than ignore a potential disaster,” said Palkavniece

Palkavniece also said that on Sunday, June 23, two drowning victims were found – one in the Bābelīte lake, Rīga, and the other in a quarry in the Olaine region. The victims had, perhaps, drowned on Saturday, June 22.

The Emergency Medical Care Service judged the festival to have been a hectic one.
Even though there have been no fatal accidents, the medics have recorded around 300 injuries. The culprit of most cases was alcohol consumption.

“Medics had mostly gone to help victims with serious thermal burns. We'd delivered 11 people to the hospital, who all had suffered burns or fractured bones when jumping over bonfires or resting close to them. There were many cases where unsuccessful attempts to light a fire with petrol ended in extensive and serious burns. One should also mention cases of choking when eating meat. We'd hospitalized two individuals who had choked on spit roasts,” said Elīna Jurēvica, the spokeswoman for NMPD.

Meanwhile, Deputy Chief of the State Police Transport Monitoring and Coordination Office Andris Locs announced that a pedestrian was hit by a car near Carnikava and died.

Among the most typical crimes on Līgo night is driving under the influence. On this year's Līgo, 49 people were caught drunk driving. The number of drunk drivers is lower than that of last year, but there is another disturbing tendency.

“41 drivers had their blood alcohol content within the allowed range – up to 0.5 per mille. This shows us that people have not yet fully comprehended, that this shouldn't be done,” Locs commented.

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