It’s with great sadness that I read the article describing the drowning of Thanh Le in Elora Quarry in your 28th June 2013 publication. My family and I moved to Fergus in 2011. I spent my youth growing up in a small coastal community on the South East Coast of Ireland and over the years unfortunately knew quite a lot of people who drowned. Mostly were involved in the fishing industry and were locals and friends. However there were some drowning’s from pleasure activities such as canoeing, boating & swimming. I have many times witnessed the loss a family and community experienced when a loved one drowns or is lost at sea.
It’s heart-breaking hearing the witnesses talk of Thanh’s last moments
“We all saw [Le] out there. He looked tired but was making his way back.He wasn’t yelling out for help or waving his arms or anything. He looked fine and then went under and didn’t come back up. Once a few seconds went by and [we] noticed he wasn’t there”
The above passage describes exactly how a drowning occurs in real life. We all grew up watching TV and programmes such as Baywatch (well my generation anyhow!!) and it was ingrained in our minds that a drowning is a noisy, splashing and yelling affair. The truth is the exact opposite. The victim is so tired and so busy trying to keep their mouth and nose above water that they cannot yell, cannot attract attention, cannot splash, cannot make noise and eventually when they have no energy to keep going they slip under. A swimmer a couple of metres from you could be drowning and you would not know.
However more education is needed. Let’s not have this happen again. Give the general public who frequent these areas as much information (signs,notices) and equipment (life bouys) so that something like this never happens again. I guarantee you. It will save lives.
Let’s all have an amazing, fun and safe summer on the lakes and rivers of this fantastic area.