By Bejay Browne
PAPHOS committee for beaches said on Tuesday the only real solution for the deadly Venus stretch of coastline would be the construction of wave barriers.
The comments came after the latest drowning in the area on Monday when 36-year-old Genadios Tzakidis from Georgia – a Paphos resident died there.
According to reports, the victims’ body was found 150 metres off the coast. Other beach-goers spotted Tzakidis and alerted lifeguards from a nearby hotel who attempted to revive him. Attending doctors pronounced him dead on arrival at Paphos general hospital. At least 12 people have drowned in the same area over the past five or six years.
Head of the Paphos municipality beaches committee Andreas Chrysanthou told the Cyprus Mail: “This is a dangerous beach which is not recognised as a place for people to swim.”
Officials and most locals believe the area should be prohibited for swimmers, a move which would slash the numbers of deaths there.
But, according to Chrysanthou, a number of legal problems would be encountered by declaring it a restricted area.
“If the municipality goes ahead and declares it as such, we will face a legal challenge from businesses in the area who will oppose the move at the high court, as a restriction of freedom,” he said.
Chrysanthou said the municipality of Paphos has taken every possible measure to try to ensure the safety of swimmers who enter the waters at their own risk.
There are huge signs in place on the shoreline of the hot spot in multiple languages informing people of the dangerous rip currents, as well as red flags and buoys and ropes in the sea to aid those who get into difficulty.
“I have to stress that bathers enter the water here at their own risk, there is no lifeguard on duty as the area is not officially suitable for swimming and it is extremely dangerous,” Chrysanthou said.
There are lifeguards on duty at nearby hotels but these are for hotel pools only and not the sea area, he added.
“We will continue to press the ministry of communications and works to construct wave barriers as soon as possible, but as there is an economic crisis, we are not optimistic about this,” he added.