Surf pounds a beach in Oaxaca. Surf pounds a beach in Oaxaca.

Big waves, currents can be a threat to swimmers in Oaxaca, Mazatlán

Authorities say most of the fatalities have been due to reckless behavior

Turbulent waves and strong currents on the Pacific coast can be dangerous to swimmers: so far this year at least eight people have died in Oaxaca alone.

According to state authorities, the majority of accidents occurred after the victims ignored red flags on the beaches, which indicate that it is unsafe to swim.

Esteban Vázquez, Civil Protection officer on the Oaxaca coast, detailed the fatalities.“We believe eight people have died so far in 2021, two in the Huatulco area, two in the Zipolite area, two more recently in the San Agustinillo area recently and finally two more in the Puerto Escondido area … [at least half] these drownings have been due to recklessness,” he said.

Puerto Escondido resident Teresa Rivera said she was aware of the danger. “At Puerto Escondido … the swell is very strong. It is not suitable right now for the little ones, in fact, I’ve brought a 5-year-old along and we are just going to walk on the shore,” she said.

Lifeguard operations have been stepped up to prevent further fatalities, but Godofredo Vázquez, head of Puerto Escondido’s lifeguards, advised swimmers against entering the sea unattended. “Where there are no lifeguard booths, it is a little risky to be entering the sea,” he said.

At least 10 more people have been rescued this year on Oaxaca’s coast. Meanwhile, in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, three people, two of them minors, were rescued from the sea at about 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Mauricio, 20, Alma, 15, and Diego, 13, all from Durango, were aided by lifeguards at Playa Cerritos beach after they had tired when trying to return to shore.

Later on Sunday, Xóchitl, 16, was assisted by lifeguards after injuring herself by falling from a banana boat and was transferred to hospital.

Last month, in the bordering state of Nayarit, a father drowned while saving his son on Father’s Day.

With reports from Milenio and Televisa 

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