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16 drown as Swiss super summer takes its toll

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A boy jumps into Lake Geneva on July 31st. Photo: AFP
11:05 CEST+02:00
Sixteen people have drowned this summer in Switzerland with young men and foreigners most at risk.

It has been a great summer for swimmers with people flocking to the country's pools, lakes and rivers to escape the heat.

But the dry conditions and warm weather have also had a dark side with 16 lives lost due to drowning so far this summer.

Read also: US teen who drowned in Switzerland was 'piano prodigy'

Last Sunday, a young African drowned in Lake Lugano while a 30-year-old drowned in the Aare River in the canton of Solothurn a few days earlier.

And with the summer not yet over, there are fears the number of drownings will rise further.

Among those at risk are young men. Last year 41 people drowned in Switzerland with 31 of those victims male.

“Young men are usually more likely to take risks and overestimate their ability,” Reto Abächerli with the Swiss Lifesaving Society (SLRG) told the Blick newspaper.

He said alcohol also played a role although exact figures were unavailable.

Abächerli added the risk of drowning was even greater among young men with foreign backgrounds who “could have a different relationship with water and perhaps be familiar with bodies of water with a different temperature and currents”.

The SLRG spokesperson said the society aimed to warn swimmers from different backgrounds about possible dangers using flyers and signs in eight different languages. The flyers are available at asylum centres.

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