Warning to swim between the flags while the Australian drowning figures are published

Abhi Toraskar talks to SBS News.

Hemant Govekar had a promising future ahead of him, before it ended in disaster.

The 29-year-old Indian student was caught in a deadly tear on Woolamai Beach in Phillip Island on the last day of Christmas, weeks after graduating.

"He just went into the water, he was not aware of the tears, there was no help available, and unfortunately he had to pay the price with his own life," Hemant's cousin Abhi Toraskar told SBS News on Wednesday.

Mr. Toraskar has established a foundation in his honor to raise awareness about water hazards, especially for newcomers and students.

He and his wife Trupti give talks in the universities with the guards of life, but are surprised at how little some people know, in this case, swimming between the flags.

Hemant Govekar before the accident.


"In a place I went to, they said it seemed to indicate that it's only for a club or a specific membership that you can swim between the flags."

"[Our wish is] accidents like this do not happen again. "

But The Royal Life Saving and Surf Life Saving Australia's National Drowning Report, published on Wednesday, shows that many similar accidents have happened since Hemant's death.

The report found that drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children under the age of four in Australia.

Eighteen children under the age of five were among the 249 people who died in the waters of the country in the last year, renewing calls for a better dissemination of water safety in all communities.

Royal Life Saving's national research and policy manager, Amy Peden, told SBS News: "With children under the age of five, the age group most vulnerable to drowning is about active adult supervision … not looking at your phone, be within reach of young children when they are in and around the water. "

Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children under four in Australia.

Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children under four in Australia.


Three-quarters of the people who drowned did so within a hundred kilometers of their zip codes of origin.

The number 249 is the lowest number of deaths recorded and marks a reduction of 14 percent, but Ms. Peden said:

"While we are very happy with the result, we are still making the community aware that 249 families have lost loved ones in preventable tragedies."

The reduction of drowning has also been attributed to a number of contributing factors, including drought-type summers, which means there were less floods.

Floral tributes after a drowning in New South Wales.

Floral tributes after a drowning in New South Wales.


The report also revealed that drowning and drowning cost Australia nearly $ 1.5 billion, which affected health systems, emergency services and productivity.

Drownings in streams and streams account for one in four deaths. The second main place was along beaches, oceans and ports.

The pools were named the most dangerous environment for young children, representing 36 percent of children under five who drowned in the pools. More than half of them had fallen.

Royal Life Saving also says that too much alcohol is being consumed in the waterways, with studies showing that two out of every five men who drowned in the last year had drugs and / or alcohol in their system.