Open Water Swimming Tragedy In The Paraná River

Open Water Swimming Tragedy In The Paraná River

Two swimmers died, six remain missing and four were injured, one in grave condition, at a 6.5K downstream race on Saturday along the Paraná River in Incarnation, Paraguay.

The situation reminds the community why safety precautions are so important.

Swimmers in the 80th event, held since 1943, ended in tragedy when the swimmers were swept against four large barges anchored nearby due to strong currents and high winds.

About 300 meters after the start at the Club de Caza y Pesca Pacu Cuá, about 30 swimmers and rowers were sweep by the strong river currents against the barges. The Coast Guard mounted an immediate rescue operation, but the strength of the water was too much and two people were killed instantly between the Paraguayan city of Incarnation and the Argentinian city of Inns as other competitors looked on.

56-year-old Luis Saide, a swimming instructor who was officiating the race died, and 55-year-old Seró Leon, a director of physical education, both died. 18-year-old Santiago Coll is in critical condition, but Alberto Vera was discharged after observation. The six missing swimmers include Víctor Esera, Sebastián Roseki, Fernando Sole Mases, Mauro Bacigalupi, Manuel Leiva and León Seró y Nicolás Delvecci.

A Spanish-language television news report can be seen here with footage of the harrowing rescue.

Tragedies like this unfortunately highlight the fact that the sport demands safety remain the number one priority for race organizers.

Copyright © 2010 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones