Water safety

  • Malaysia
  • Friday, 21 Mar 2014

Unless you are well-trained, larger fast-flowing rivers can be dangerous.

What to do in case someone falls into a river.

IN the Gunung Bubu accident, it was reported that two students fell into a swift-flowing river and were swept away to their deaths while two of their friends (who were later rescued) could only “watch helplessly” from the riverbank.

“The Golden Rule in such situations is that once you have made any contact with the victims (even eye or verbal contact), never lose or abandon them,” says Chan Yuen-Li, a Swiftwater Rescue Instructor Trainer for Rescue 3 International.

“If you see someone being swept away, go after them. Keep going until you recover them dead or alive or until it becomes too dangerous to continue.”

Although the details of this particular accident are still unclear, she explains: “In my years of conducting water rescue training, there seems to be a unique Malaysian mindset that when victims are swept out of sight downstream, by-standers give up hope and assume that they are already lost or dead.

But of course, another crucial Golden Rule is that a rescuer should not let himself become another victim.

“Don’t jump into a fast-flowing river. Throw a rope or float to the victims. Reach out to them with a branch. Finally, only if you have no other choice, do you go into the river to save the victim.”

There will be more tips on jungle safety next week, including the role of smartphones and other technology. Feedback is welcome at star2@thestar.com.my

Related story:

Keeping safe in the jungle

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