This season’s death toll due to drowning rose to three this weekend, and lifeguards say two of them could very likely have been avoided if their calls for extended working hours had been heeded.
The guards say their watch towers should be staffed from 6am to 8pm instead of from 10am to 5pm as is the case now.
A 35-year-old Indian man drowned in the sea near Pervolia, Larnaca on Monday, while his 24-year-old girlfriend is in critical condition.
Both Indian nationals, students in Cyprus, were found floating in the sea at around 5.15pm.
They were taken to Larnaca general hospital where doctors pronounced the man dead. The young woman remains in intensive care.
And on May 24, a 64-year-old Russian tourist died while swimming in the sea near Ayia Napa. She was found floating in the water at around 6pm.
The third person was a 41-year-old diver who was reported missing off the Akamas peninsula in Paphos by a friend shortly after lunch on Sunday. He was found dead in the evening.
“Unfortunately, despite the fact that we predicted such incidents and made sure that we informed the authorities with explanations and suggestions to take action, our voice as professionals was not listened to for the umpteenth time,” the Limassol lifeguard association said in an announcement on Tuesday.
“Safety on our beaches is something that concerns everyone, and we might all know people who may need help and cannot be saved because they made the ‘mistake’ of swimming during hours when there are no lifeguards on duty.”
The lifeguard association said the authorities should consider how import tourism is for Cyprus and the increase in tourist numbers.
“Who will take the responsibility for the next drowning?” the group asked.