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  • Writer's pictureJon Muller

Why are there so many Water Accidents/Drownings?

Updated: Mar 26

(Updated 7 March 2020)

Gary: A reader sent me this in an email:

"Another ‘drowning’, notice how the media conflate the rescue of 2 other people, that are not super skilled, super-fit surfers who dice with big waves for fun every day!

It will be interesting to see the year on year stats from the Water safety council - from what I can see the drownings for almost young people in the first 3 months of 22 outstrip the entire year of 21."

The thing about watersports like ocean swimming, freediving and surfing, is that there is no real safety margin that one has compared to when playing sports like tennis or football.

You see, if you are at the bottom of a fierce wave, gagging to hold your breath, you can't call "time-out", if your heart begins to object! We've had an unusual Summer season when it comes to drownings, in terms of high numbers with many involving people who are near the apex of competence in the water. What's going on here?



I am a keen ocean lover and have surfed and swam in the ocean for 35 years. I have swum in ocean races for the last 20 years and have achieved first placings in the ocean swim series. I have also competed in two Masters Surf champs and got third in each heat- a more difficult task getting enough waves in a 20-minute heat than swimming a hard out 3km ocean race.

Jon Muller

In my time, I have had a swimmer my age die on a race in Mount Maunganui and a surfer my age die at Taranaki at a spot I had surfed the day before. Heart attacks were suspected in each case.

In the last year, I heard a significant number of professional athletes dropping dead in their game e.g. professional footballers.

Recently, famous cricketers Shane Warne and Rod Marsh died suddenly about the same time. Shane Warne had had three injections for Covid, and it was recorded as a heart attack. Both were fit athletes.

We are seeing a similar trend- in the last few days, three top surfers have died. One a young (35), fit, top surfer from Dunedin drowned after catching a wave that he would normally revel in. The other two from Taranaki haven’t had a cause of death ascertained, one in his 40s the other 50s.

John Muller surfing

Also, a 41-year-old long-distance swimmer died suddenly after swimming Cook Strait last month. This marathon swim is the pinnacle of long-distance swims and requires great fitness and endurance. The first swim was in 1962 and I haven’t heard of any other swimmer dying after their swim like this, and it was quite a shock to many long-distance swimmers.

As always, our condolences go out to the families who have lost their loved ones.

This summer there have been a significant number of drownings as below link. What caused this?

Whenever the subject of increased heart attacks recently comes up we get bland, facile statements like too much alcohol this summer ( has more alcohol been drunk?) or today I heard it’s the hot nights that are causing more heart attacks. This is demeaning to those families who have lost a family member.

When top athletes drop dead from heart attacks, the media here try to dispel any link with the Pfizer injection. Pfizer had to release their findings of adverse effects of their injections and heart problems were high on the list of adverse effects.

Anecdotally I know a number of friends who have had heart or blood problems after getting 1,2 or 3 Pfizer injections- 2 with pericarditis, 2 heart attacks ( one fatal), 2 with major clots in their legs.

There is a saying “ if you don’t look for a problem you won’t find one”.

In this case, there has been a conspiracy of silence by our government and medical authorities regarding the negative effects of vaccines, and one that is eagerly abetted by our media.

It is time to investigate these events and help those who are injured or have family left behind without their loved ones.

Jon Muller

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