Two young men have been found drowned at Dukhan on Qatar’s west coast, Al Raya reported on Wednesday, adding that one of the men was a Qatari national.
The newspaper gave no details of the nationality of the second man, nor of how the pair came to be in trouble in the water.
Their ages are also not specified, but the newspaper refers to them as “youth,” suggesting that they may have been in their early 20s.
Their bodies were transferred to a nearby morgue and authorities are now investigating the incident, Al Raya added.
Drownings in Qatar are relatively rare, but tend to increase in the summer months and during the holidays.
In recent years, there have been several reports of residents drowning while swimming near beaches after getting caught in strong tides.
In October 2013, for example, two Filipino expats drowned while crabbing in Al Khor on the first day of Eid al-Adha. They had been caught by the rising tide while two of their friends eventually made it to safety.
To improve water safety along Qatar’s coastline, the Cabinet approved a draft law earlier this year that would require authorities to set up designated swimming zones on Qatar’s beaches.
The legislation would apply not only to open coastline, but to “all tourist facilities including clubs, resorts and private areas overlooking the sea.”
Children at most risk
According to health officials, about 20 people drown in Qatar each year, many of them children, and that number is on the rise.
Hamad Medical Corporation issued a statement last month saying that the number of child deaths from drowning in Qatar is increasing annually, adding that drowning is a leading cause of death and serious disability in children in Qatar.
Ninety percent of cases of drowning involve children aged 10 or under, with 70 percent younger than four years old.
Dr. Khalid Abdulnoor Saifeldeen, head of HMC’s Hamad International Training Center and Kulluna Health and Safety Campaign, said in the statement:
“Most drowning incidents in Qatar occur at home, in private swimming pools and bathtubs. Though we don’t have open lakes and rivers in Qatar, some incidents of drowning do occur in the sea because families often go to the beach for picnics and leisure activities at this time of year.
Almost all the drowning incidents in swimming pools in Qatar happen when the parents are not present and either one child or a group of children are left to swim alone by themselves,” he added.
Around 70 to 80 percent of drowning cases happen when the child is not supposed to be in the water, according to Dr. Saifeldeen.
As residents flock to the beaches to cool off and Eid Al-Adha holidays approach, the Ministry of Interior has offered several water safety tips on its Facebook page, including:
- Don’t swim alone, or in prohibited areas;
- Avoid swimming at night and stay away from people on jet skis;
- If facing difficulty in the water, maintain calm and paddle your feet to stay afloat. Wave your hands to draw the attention of others;
- Do not attempt to rescue someone who is drowning if you are not trained to do so; and
- Monitor children carefully and consider putting on floating devices to help them swim.
Anyone who needs help or sees someone in danger should call the General Directorate of Coasts Security oat 2354666 or 999, the MOI added.