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Heatwave prompts multiple drownings

The high temperatures which Latvia is currently enjoying continue to have a tragic side-effect with at least five people reported drowned over the weekend of July 26-7.

 

Speaking on LTV's morning news show Rita Panorama Monday, State Fire and Rescue Service (VUGD) spokeswoman Inga Vetere said the public appeared not to be taking much heed of VUGD's repeated calls to act responsibly in the water.

In addition to five confirmed drownings, a search was due to be resumed Monday at Jugla near Riga where a swimmer went missing on Sunday.

Further tragedies had only narrowly been avoided on numerous other occasions with police intervening to stop two women attempting to swim across the River Daugava.

The high temperatures were also taking a toll on rescuers who had to wear heavy protective gear during their rescue efforts, resulting in several instances of heat stroke, Vetere said.

With high temperatures expected to continue until Thursday, VUGD is repeating its call for swimmers to act responsibly as Latvia's drowning death toll reaches epidemic proportions.

The weekend's fatalities mean that in July alone 31 people have lost their lives in drowning accidents, some through thoughtless actions but others as a result of trying to save another swimmer in trouble.

The worst month on record was July 2010, when 51 people were pulled from the water by VUGD.

"Each of these people wanted to live, to enjoy a nice summer, and each of them had friends and family that cared about them," VUGD says in its advisory message.

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