The parents of a 15-year-old drowning victim have voiced their concerns about unused quarries that are popular swimming holes among citizens who are looking to beat the heat in Ireland.
15-year-old Kevin O'Hare got into trouble in a quarry between Newcastle and Annalong in Co Down last month. A 39-year-old man, Colin Polland, also died in an attempt to rescue the teenager.
Kevin's mother Donna O'Hare has demanded that unused quarries be filled to prevent any further deaths.
"They have to do something. All the quarries, they have to be closed," she told the Irish News.
In response to the mounting number of drownings, environment minister Alex Attwood has announced a campaign to raise awareness of the hazards with unused quarries. The campaign will use warning signs at dangerous locations and publicity through posters and social medias to highlight the danger.
As the heat wave continued on, more and more people are flocking to beaches, rivers, and lakes to cool off. Unused quarries are also becoming popular spots to go for a refreshing dip. This poses a big risk to swimmers as there are no lifeguards on duty should someone get into a tight spot.
Along with the rise in heat, there has been an increase in drowning incidents in Ireland in the last couple of weeks. At least 10 people have drowned since the heat picked up in Ireland, according to the Irish Times. Several of these drownings have occurred in freshwater deposits like rivers and lakes.
In a statement from a Valentia Coastguard spokesperson, fresh water is more dangerous than the sea. "There is less buoyancy in rivers and lakes due to absence of salt in the water, and it is also much colder."
The spokesperson went on to say, "It's a matter of educating people." With the call for new safety regulations, the hope for educating the youth about the hazards of unsupervised swimming should increase.
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