Take care of your safety!
Heroic tales amid tragedies on Tenerife.
The sun has been shining, the sky has been crystal blue and Tenerife has been a paradise but also an island of much drama and sadness over the last ten days.
Freak wave conditions claimed five lives in the Canaries, including that of a 34-year-old British man who drowned at La Caleta when he fell from rocks and was unable to battle the horrendously strong currents.
There was an emergency on virtually every day, with a number of other holiday-makers being saved from the sea, either by other swimmers or the rescue services.
Even those with experience got into trouble as a dramatic video published by a diving club in the north of Tenerife has shown. Professionals with the El Pijin diving club were NOT diving near the natural pool in El Rosario on the day in question but went to the help of other divers and snorkellers who were in grave danger of being swept away by waves which in some parts of Tenerife reached as high as 20ft and led to ferry cancellations and road closures.
Members of the diving club have been hailed as heroes and good samaritans as they risked their own lives to jump into the swell. They have since published the video of the drama to warn others and to give them advice on what to do should they get caught up in a similar situation. You can watch the drama unfold on https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=776810542341735
The five people who died in different incidents included a 50-year-old woman who drowned in Gran Canaria, a 70-year-old woman in Playa de Abades in Arico and another woman who fell into the sea in Playa Paraiso.
In many of the deaths and the rescues, swimmers witnessed distressing scenes as medics performed resuscitation, in some cases successfully, in others sadly not.
The British man, who was on holiday from Cheshire, was not found until August 31st, four days after he disappeared following an extensive search operation by land, sea and air. His body was found about a half a mile away from where he disappeared in the direction of Teno.
Tenerife is not a dangerous island but the emergency services have warned that the sea currents can be a killer and people must not under-estimate the power of the ocean.
In the case of the British man, two other people jumped into the water to try and save him and they only just managed to struggle back to safety themselves.
Police investigations will reveal what happened in the various fatalities but there is a suggestion that in at least one case, the victim might have been taking pictures of the spectacular waves which also caused substantial damage to promenades and beaches in the south. At one stage, the red flag was flying at 20 beaches, telling people to keep out of the water.
The fishing village of San Andres, near Santa Cruz, was once again swamped and the road to Las Galletas was sealed off for a while as huge waves washed over the promenade.
Wanting to capture such dramatic scenes on camera is normal but police say people must take care. Don’t go too close to the edge of rocks if the weather is bad, don’t be tempted to take a selfie with your back to the ocean and don’t stray into areas which look unsafe or are taped off. Swimmers must also abide by warning signs on the beaches ie no swimming if the red flag is flying and caution if it is orange.
Similarly, never be tempted by any sort of dare or think that you are infallible, no matter how strong a swimmer you might be.
Even after the conditions calmed down and appeared to be returning to normal, emergencies continued.
On Sunday, in the other La Caleta in the municipality of Guimar, a fisherman had a very lucky escape after he fell into the water but was rescued by the emergency helicopter. The 60-year-old man, who was relayed instructions to try and keep afloat, suffered bruising but did not need hospital treatment.