Okanagan Lake #1 for drownings
Aug 29, 2013 / 7:04 am
More people drown in Okanagan Lake than in any other body of water in the province.
The BC Coroners Service says so far in 2013, 40.7 per cent of drownings have occurred in the Interior region, with the majority of those taking place in Okanagan Lake.
Interior Regional Coroner Larry Marzinzik says so far the summertime accidental drownings in the lake have increased by one or two in the past few years.
"In the previous four years we had three or two within the lake at this present time we've had four reported."
Of the accidental drownings in 2013, just over 79 per cent were men, with the most deaths taking place among those aged 20-29 or 40-49.
Marzinzik says he is not surprised with the statistic of male drownings saying it's men who usually take more risks when out on the water. They also engage in more water related activities such as jet skiing or wake boarding.
In a period of nine days three men died on Okanagan Lake in water related incidents, while these deaths are still under investigation Marzinsik explains it's probable that a toxicology report will conducted on the victims to weigh out all contributing factors.
"We find in a great deal of the cases with drownings is there is a high percentage where there has been some type of substance abuse or substance use involved in the case. Now whether it is the final contributing factor or just one of the contributing factors, it is determined by the end of the investigation."
Okanagan Lake is one of the most popular destinations in western Canada says Marzinzik, and prior to last week the Coroners Service was only investigating three incidents, which could be looked at as a positive statistic considering the tens of thousands of people who are out on the lake each year.
"We were actually on a reduced level and we had made it through most of July and August with only one reported incident that was under investigation. We were looking at it being a good summer, until that one week but again it is just one of those factors you just can't predict when an incident is going to occur."
To date in BC, the have been 54 accidental drownings deaths in 2013, compared to 67 deaths for a similar period last year.
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