Good Samaritans Too Easily Become Drowning Victims: Prevent Tragedy on Your Next Pool or Lake Outing

It’s always a sad day when someone dies due to a senseless accident, but possibly even more tragic is when someone loses their life while trying to save another. This was the case in two unrelated Georgia incidents last week.

Ngoc Minh Vo, a 24-year-old Stone Mountain woman, died after attempting to save a younger relative from drowning in Lake Lanier. In the struggle, she was submerged for 12 minutes. The six-year-old relative was resuscitated. A similar incident occurred that same weekend at Callaway Gardens. Rico Cruz, a 21-year-old East Point man, died after attempting to save a young boy struggling to stay afloat in Robin Lake. The boy was rescued by another swimmer, but Cruz drowned.

While a person’s first instinct may be to jump into the water and attempt to rescue a drowning victim, this can be extremely dangerous. Only people with rescue or lifeguard training should attempt to rescue someone in the water. Drowning people are working on pure instinct. They are fighting for their lives and will not hesitate to unknowingly pull a rescuer down under with them if it means the chance to survive. And often, the rescuer panics just as much as the drowning victim and jumps into the water when another method could work. If you are ever in the unfortunate position of witnessing a potential drowning, instead of jumping into the water, throw the drowning victim a floatation object attached to a rope or use a long pole to help that person reach safety.

Don’t attempt to be a Good Samaritan and end up a drowning victim. As these two recent Georgia incidents showcased, tragedy can strike all too easily. If you spend a lot of time in or near the water, consider taking a water rescue class and other pertinent first aid training, such as CPR.

When it comes to safety, prevention is always the best course. Please see these Water Safety Tips to ensure a fun, incident-free summer for the whole family.