A week ago, we shared about a young OFW couple who tragically died in the Maldives during their honeymoon. Soon after the incident, however, three other cases of drowning have been reported in the islands, prompting authorities to conduct inspections and review regulations.
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Leomer Lagradilla and his wife, Erika Joyce, had drowned while swimming near Dhiffushi Island in Kaafu Atoll early last week. The couple had just gotten married last December.
5 Drowning Incidents in Maldives this Month
Soon after the young couple’s deaths, three other foreign tourists had drowned in the islands, according to the Maldives Times. Last Wednesday, a 66-year-old tourist from South Korea drowned. He was staying in the same resort where Leomer and Erika Joyce had died.
On Sunday, a 40-year-old Russian woman died during a diving trip. It was unclear where the incident occurred and how she died. On the same day, a Pakistani man was drowning near Thulusdhoo Island, also in Kaafu Atoll. Fortunately, he was rescued and treated immediately at the local health centre on the island.
Just recently, an 84-year-old man from the Czech Republic had drowned. He was staying at the Paradise resort. This brings the total number of fatalities to five in just a single month.
All of these cases prompted the tourism ministry to look into regulations and launch inspections. They are currently holding discussions with island councils, particularly on designating safe areas for swimming. They also aim to improve the safety measures in tourist establishments.
On Monday, local police advised everyone to:
- Practice safety precautions when swimming, snorkelling, or engaging in water sports activities; and
- Be extra careful with children and adults who cannot swim, especially since water currents are strong during the north-eastern monsoon.
As for Leomer and Erica Joyce, their remains have been repatriated to the Philippines, with help from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and through the tireless efforts of the couple’s loving family and friends.
With four drowning fatalities in less than a month, authorities in the Maldives should definitely review safety regulations, especially in tourist establishments. This way, tragic incidents could be avoided in the islands, which are known for pristine white beaches and beautiful reefs.