Neither the 23-year-old who drowned in the Navacerrada reservoir nor the four friends he was with knew how to swim. This prevented the group from any possibility of help, after the deceased entered the water on foot and fell down a drop of just two meters. The fatal event took place around 11:45 p.m. last Saturday, on a closed night and with clouds that tinged the entire environment with darkness. His companions stopped seeing him and quickly raised the alarm. In just five minutes, a crew from the Special Height Rescue Group of the Fire Department (GERA) of the Community of Madrid appeared at the scene and rescued the man three meters from the shore.
He was in cardiorespiratory arrest, so resuscitation work began, which was later continued for an hour by the displaced Summa 112 doctors. But it was in vain.
It should be remembered that the dangers in reservoirs and swamps are accentuated for various reasons. Added to the sudden changes in depth is the fact that the bottoms are usually very muddy, with mud, stones, roots and other buried remains, which increases the risk of being trapped. In addition, when bathing you must always do it in waters that are marked, permitted and prepared for it, in which it is feasible to appreciate the ground, something very complicated in large bodies of fresh water.
Hours after registering the last death, the Summa112 yesterday published several tips to prevent drowning from occurring, such as paying close attention to eddies. Precisely, in the swamps and reservoirs there is not a constant flow, producing a phenomenon called stratification. The surface of the water is subject to a greater temperature change while the bottom is colder. Thus, if the air temperature drops and the surface water becomes colder than that of the bottom itself, a self-regulating movement will take place, allowing the appearance of strong currents.
The emergency services also specify that the most important thing in the case of not knowing how to swim is not to approach the aquatic areas or put yourself at risk. For excursions to the reservoirs, the Medical Emergency Service of the Community of Madrid recommends that they be carried out in spaces allowed for bathing, remembering that the only suitable reservoir in the region is the Pantano de San Juan.
Footwear must be suitable for entering the water, such as plastic sandals to "avoid slipping or objects on the bottom that are unknown." And as for the use of floats, you should not "get carried away by the currents" since it is an article to "protect yourself and not to get carried away by the water". It is convenient that the bath takes place in the presence of another person to deal with any eventuality (cramps, jerks and dizziness, among others) and it is essential that minors are always under surveillance to prevent them from accessing unknown areas or where the water covers them above their heads. Professionals remember that in any emergency it is essential to call 112 as soon as possible.