DROWN­ING CASES IN MALAYSIA

New Straits Times - - NEWS -

THE chances of drown­ing in a wa­ter mishap are far greater than the death rate in road ac­ci­dents and fires. Sta­tis­tics from the Fire and Res­cue Depart­ment re­vealed this grim re­al­ity, where there were 195 drown­ings, or 82 per cent death rate, in 238 wa­ter mishap cases be­tween Jan­uary and July. That fig­ure ex­ceeded the 77 deaths (13 per cent) in 603 road ac­ci­dents and the 53 deaths (0.2 per cent) in 23,331 fires recorded dur­ing the same pe­riod.

BEATRICE NITA JAY ex­am­ines these stark fig­ures in the af­ter­math of the Oct 3 tragedy, in which six divers from the Fire and Res­cue Depart­ment’s Wa­ter Res­cue Unit drowned dur­ing a search-and-res­cue op­er­a­tion at a min­ing pool in Pu­chong, Se­lan­gor.

The in­ci­dent raised many ques­tions de­spite the divers ad­her­ing to stan­dard op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dures (SOP) for sur­face wa­ter res­cues.

Fire and Res­cue Depart­ment di­rec­tor-gen­eral Mo­ham­mad Ham­dan Wahid said an in­ten­sive re­view of the SOP was be­ing car­ried out, and ef­forts to im­prove tac­ti­cal strate­gies would be im­ple­mented to pre­vent such a tragedy from re­cur­ring.

IL­LUS­TRA­TION & INFOGRAPHIC NST BY AH­MAD YUSRI

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