According to IMD, the coastal state of Goa has been put on alert and is expecting heavy rains and high speed winds over the next few days. Drishti the lifeguard agency advises visitors not to venture onto beaches during the next few days. Red flags have been put up at all beaches indicated they are closed for swimming or even wading.
From the start of the year in Jan 2020 till date there have been 97 rescues, 15 instances of first aid interventions and 05 deaths. Baga has seen the maximum number of incidents in 2020 so far with 24 incidents followed by 10 in Palolem. All other beaches have reported incidents in single digits.
In the last three months, Goa’s shores have witnessed six cases linked to attempted suicides of which four victims were rescued by alert lifeguards. Three of the incidents took place in the last four days at Baina, Colva and Dona Paula.
On the afternoon of 1st August, lifeguard Suresh Harizan posted at the Colva beach was stepping down from the lifeguard tower to commence another round of patrolling of the popular beach stretch when he noticed loud angry voices coming from behind the lifeguard tower. On further examination it seemed like a family of three had got into an argument over an issue. Sensing trouble but not wanting to intrude on their personal space, lifeguard Suresh stayed close and kept watch. A short while later, a girl, who was among the three members arguing, stormed off away angrily and ran straight towards the sea and into the rough waves crashing onto the shore. Lifeguard Suresh grabbed his rescue tube and rushed after the girl into the waters. He noticed her panicking as she got swept by the waves. On reaching the victim, lifeguard Suresh calmly held the girl by the hand and asked her to grab onto the rescue tube while he secured her to it and brought her back to shore. Once on shore the victim was placed in the recovery position. She was experiencing difficulty in breathing and hence oxygen was administered. On recovery, the victim refused to speak with her family. Meanwhile the police was informed. On arrival, the victim was handed over to the police for further interventions.
Meanwhile in a separate incident in Baina, Vasco, while on his morning walk on 4th August, when he was off duty, lifeguard Shanu Shaikh noticed a lady, walking deliberately into the waves and into the deep waters. Lifeguard Shanu hollered at her to come back and warned that the sea was dangerous. She refused to pay heed and walked further into the sea. Being accustomed to monitoring wave and sea conditions everyday the lifeguard was aware that the rough sea waves could knock her down and sweep the victim into the sea in a matter of minutes. Lifeguard Shanu rushed in after her. On approaching the victim, the lady refused to return to shore and said she wanted to end her life. Lifeguard Shanu calmed her down in a reassuring manner and brought her back to shore. Back on shore the lifeguard team evaluated her condition and contacted the family. The victim was handed over to the family who confirmed that she was under tremendous mental pressure due to personal issues.
On the same day, on 4th August, a fisherman from the fishing community in Dona Paula called the lifeguard team to report that a male from the community jumped into the waters around the Dona Paula jetty in a suicide attempt. The lifeguards relayed a call to the Goa police and rushed towards the Dona Paula jetty. A search operation was launched but the victim was untraceable.
The last few months have been unprecedented in recent human history. Mental and emotional health have added to the states stressed healthcare system. It’s imperative that family and friends support and keep a watch out for their near and dear ones and reach out for help to support organisations. Professional services can be deemed out through helpline numbers of agencies like Cooj Mental Health Goa on 08322252525 or TISS CALL ( Operated by TISS ) +91 22 2552111, +91 91529 87821 or log on to http://icallhelpline.org/ for support advises Drishti.