With the summer sun comes the attraction of a swim in a nice cool pond. Unfortunately for two lads this week their choice of a flooded quarry proved, for them, to be fatal. Tragically for these 15 year olds help came too late.
There was the temptation to swim across to the other side of the abandoned quarry, a feat which the boys thought they could accomplish with all the energy of youth to drive them. It appears that when the first got into difficulties the second boy went to his aid and both were drowned.
Fresh water lacks the buoyancy of salt water which can be an asset when it comes to an emergency. The normal thing is to roll onto your back and float. This is easier in the sea than in a pond. It becomes especially difficult if the person gets cramp. Rescue by another is difficult as a degree of panic sets in and the simplest instructions can be easily ignored.
This incident brought to mind the drowning of Isobel Keith. A number of us went swimming in the sea near the Ythan estuary in Scotland. We were told to go beyond the Salmon nets, along the coast, which would take us away from the influence of the river’s flow. It may be that the nets had been moved nearer the estuary (there was always some dispute between the anglers on the river and the netters who wanted their salmon nets to be as close as possible to the river where the catch would be much larger) but all I can recall was a strong current. This was aided by an off-shore wind which carried the shouts of my cousin away from me. I was the youngest and had a tyre tube to play with at the water’s edge. It was this tube that my cousin wanted to assist Isobel who was in difficulties. Despite his best efforts Isobel was panicking and unable to hold onto the tube. She was swept out to sea and drowned.
A healthy respect for water is required. This was not evident in the abandoned quarry as two people were seen swimming in the same area shortly after the lads were drowned and this despite the fire engines, helicopter and divers in the vicinity. There were also notices prohibiting swimming!
The speed at which it all happens and the irrevocable results of the drowning are indelibly etched on the mind. There is the parent’s grief at the loss – both boys were only sons. As far as I can recall Isobel’s mother was a widow. I remember my Aunt taking the bad news to her and the gloom that settles over the community as soon as the tragedy becomes known.
There is a similar incident recorder by St Luke when Jesus had compassion on the widow of Nain when Jesus brought the dead boy back from the dead and using the same words as Elijah uttered in a similar incident gave the boy back to his mother (St Luke Chapter 7 verses 11 to 17 and 1 Kings chapter 17 verses 19 to24). The gloom turned to joy as the people recognised the God had visited his people.
The other case is where the Father in an Abrahamic like sign offers his only son up as a sacrifice on the Cross for sinners that all may have hope even in heart-breaking grief. (Genesis Chapter 22 verses 1 to 18 and Romans Chapter 5 verse 8).