Boy, 12, drowns in front of beach rescue squad
10 August 2005
BRUSSELS — A drowning death has occurred for the first time in 32 years at a guarded section of the Belgian coastline.
Wallonian boy Paolo Guida, of Seraing, disappeared under the water in front of the Casino at Middelkerke at 3.17pm on Tuesday.
The boy — who had gone to the coast with his mother and her two other children — disappeared shortly after a life rescue guard warned him that he was swimming too close to the breakwater.
His lifeless body was found four hours later at the high-water line after a massive search and rescue operation, newspaper ‘Het Nieuwsblad’ reported on Wednesday.
Witnesses claim Paolo went swimming with four friends on the guarded beach, but in the area where it is forbidden to swim: namely between the yellow buoys and the breakwater.
“When the beach rescuers saw that the five were swimming in the danger zone, they warned them that it was not allowed to swim there. Four of the five followed the instructions. The 5th boy, Paolo Guida, swam further,” said Middelkerke Mayor Michel Landuyt, who co-ordinates the municipality’s rescue efforts.
“The beach rescuer — a student with a part-time job from Oostende — went immediately into the water to get the boy out of the water. In the meantime, the boy was showing signs of drowning. When the rescuer got within 2m, the boy went under and disappeared into the sea.”
The sea rescue and co-ordination centre MRCC was alerted and all resources were deployed to assist in the rescue operation.
Beach rescuers immediately took to the sea with three boats, while rescue boats and police boats were also deployed. Rescue service Brandaris was dispatched and the Seaking helicopter search the water from above.
Shortly before 7pm, the boy’s body was pulled from the water at the high-water line, close to where he first entered the water. Rescuers tried to reanimate him and the Seaking took him to the Sint-Augustinus hospital in Veurne, where he was pronounced dead shortly after 7pm.
It was the first drowning death on a guarded beach in Belgium since 1973.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news