canary islands

Raising awareness in the Canary Islands about drowning, the third leading cause of death

The Elder Museum in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria was the venue selected to mark the 'World Drowning Prevention Day' in the Canary Islands. The event centered on sharing eight stories of individuals who experienced or lost a loved one in drowning incidents, highlighting that it is the third leading cause of unintentional death globally.

An event organized by the association ‘Canarias, 1500 Km de Costa’, in collaboration with The Island Council of Gran Canaria, Ciudad de Mar, Tourism of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the Government of the Canary Islands, and the Science Museum, brought together institutional and organizational leaders to hear, for the first time, from victims and their families about their experiences with aquatic spaces and the tragedy of drowning incidents. This gathering marked the third year that the Canary Islands have become an international reference in raising awareness about this important issue.

Among the moving testimonies shared, Rafael Giraldo recounted his harrowing experience of being dragged by a current and stranded at sea for 14 hours before being rescued. Little Sandro, a 4-year-old boy who lost his life drowning in a public park fountain, was remembered by his father, Borja Álamo.

Additionally, live video calls connected with Colombia and Argentina, revealing the ‘Tragedy of the Paraná,’ where nine people drowned during a sporting event while swimming across the river. The heartbreaking stories of those affected by this tragedy, including Mauro Bacigalupi, were shared during the event.

Other stories touched upon the challenge of recovering the bodies of drowning victims, as in the case of Juan Perera, a Gran Canarian fisherman whose remains were never found after he was engulfed by the sea in 2019. The traumatic aftermath of such incidents was discussed by his sister, Fifa.

The event also highlighted the death of Nauzet Guadalupe on the island of La Graciosa, leaving a profound and lasting impact on his family. Ana Suárez, the widow of the ‘Hero of Tebeto,’ recounted the tragedy that claimed her husband’s life as he bravely attempted to save a young girl from drowning, setting a judicial precedent in Spain.

Many of these compelling testimonies are featured in the documentary ‘Desahogo,’ the world’s first film dedicated to drowning prevention, scheduled to air on Televisión Canaria on July 31st at 22.30. The event’s organizers emphasized the significance of sharing these stories to raise awareness about the importance of drowning prevention and water safety.

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