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Three drownings in the Ourcq canal this summer: how to prevent new tragedies?


Three deaths have occurred since the beginning of July in the La Villette sector. For the mayor of the 19th century, measures can be taken but i

Aperitif at the water's edge, swimming in dedicated pools or even boat trips... Every summer, the Saint-Martin, Ourcq and Villette canals are always full.

While most Parisians and other tourists take advantage of the good weather responsibly, some take the risk of swimming in unsupervised areas.

Sometimes at the expense of their lives.

This is what happened again this Thursday afternoon.

A young man was found in cardiac arrest in the Canal de l'Ourcq, after having taken a dive there.

It is the third drowning since the beginning of the summer, after a first tragedy at the beginning of July, and another in the middle of the month.

This is enough to worry the authorities even if, each year, about two drownings take place in this district very popular with Parisians.

Risky behavior multiplied during hot weather

“There are a lot of risky behaviors around the Canal de l'Ourcq, explains François Dagnaud, mayor of the 19th arrondissement.

This aggravation of drownings is connected to the strong heat which reigns over Paris and which multiplies all dangerous behaviors.


Swimming is well authorized in the sector during the summer, since “the Paris-Plages basins are the only places where swimming is authorized because it is supervised”, recalls the elected official.

For him, “this can be confusing for some individuals who say to themselves that if it is possible to swim in the pools, why not directly in the canal?

However, it is strictly forbidden to swim there.


The signage “must be understandable to everyone”

However, signage is in place around the canal to remind you of the prohibition and the danger of diving and swimming.

But the mayor wonders: “I would like to know from what origin are the young people who drown.

Maybe they don't speak French… That could shed some light on who has risky behavior and how we could prevent it.

But at night, even the visuals on our panels are not visible.


François Dagnaud intends to inquire with the authorities to adapt the warnings around the different basins, and thus "ensure that the indications are understandable by all".

If the consumption of alcohol or narcotics is added, the risks are further multiplied.

Read alsoDrowning: high heat increases the risks, how to avoid the danger

The risks of drowning are high and the factors varied.

The depth of the canals varies between 2 and 3 m according to the indications of the City, and the risks of collision with objects inside are real.

“There are also algae at the bottom of the canal which can wrap around the limbs of the jumper and prevent him from moving as he pleases”, specifies François Dagnaud.

Since July, the three deaths recorded have been due to cardiorespiratory arrest.

Could a crackdown be a game-changer?

The brigades mobilized on site are mainly called upon to patrol to prevent noise pollution, according to the mayor.

“Despite the presence of municipal patrols, it is impossible to go up the entire canal and monitor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” admits the mayor.

And verbalize?

“We are more in a logic of prevention than of verbalization, answers François Dagnaud.

On the enclosure of the Parc de la Villette, it will also be necessary to put the public establishment in the loop, by thinking about the possibility of deploying lifeguards”.

These new measures are possible during the day of course, but there is a


... "Let's be honest, these are only things that can be done during the day", nuance the elected official.

Source: leparis

All news articles on 2022-08-12

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