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Lifeguards warn of beach’s dangers after weekend rescue

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Limassol lifeguards on Monday urged the public to be wary of the beach’s dangers after a boy had to be rescued on Sunday.

Following Sunday’s incident with the injury of a 16-year-old at Governors Beach in Limassol, the Limassol lifeguard unit is requesting support and necessary measures to be taken.

“This year we had to deal with many incidents concerning minors. In general, there were more than 20 incidents in Limassol this summer, at least half of which required transport to the hospital,” head of the lifeguard unit in Limassol Petros Antoniou told the Cyprus Mail.

On Sunday afternoon lifeguards of LEM1 on the Governor’s beach rescued an underage boy. The 16-year-old tried to dive, hit his head and a few seconds later he lost consciousness and was in danger of drowning.

“The 16-year-old was injured in the neck area. The point where this happened was not supervised by the lifeguards. Lifeguards pulled the minor out of the water unconscious. After they acted, the boy recovered and complained of neck pain. An ambulance then arrived and transported him to hospital,” Antoniou said.

“I would like to ask parents to be very careful when supervising their children. We must not leave minors alone on the beach,” he added.

Antoniou said measures need to be taken, especially for some beaches in particular. “There are places that are more dangerous than others such as Governor’s beach in Pentakomo. Protective signs for diving prohibition need to immediately be put up. Also, the beach of the Municipal Garden is a difficult area due to the uneven ground in the water. This Sunday we had another serious incident with a 25-year-old who was in danger of drowning,” he added.

He also said the lifeguard unit is facing an understaffing problem that needs addressing.

“The unit operates with ten people less than normal. In fact, after the summer, the problem will be more intense because many students who are currently staffing the Limassol lifeguard unit with three-month contracts will leave. Also, the earnings for such a demanding job are not attractive for people to come to work. All these issues will be addressed when the lifeguard service becomes independent,” he said.

At the moment, lifeguards are 50 per cent funded by the ministry of interior and 50 per cent by the municipalities.

A proposal for a salary scale upgrade for lifeguards and the securing of the profession has ground to a standstill over bureaucratic issues, Antoniou said. “It is expected to move forward in the next period”.

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