19-year-old tourist drowns on Tulum beach


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On Sunday afternoon, Tulum authorities were alerted after a 19-year-old boy drowned on Santa Fe beach in Tulum. The individual was a national tourist originally from Puebla, in central Mexico.

Lifeguards Tulum Beach

Official reports of the incident say the tragedy happened just after 2 p.m. when nearby swimmers noticed a body floating in the water. City rescuers arrived at the scene and attempted to resuscitate the man. CostaMed paramedics also arrived and tried to perform CPR, but the man had already lost his life.

Ambulance ready to go to Mexico

After confirmation of his death, staff from the Quintana Roo State Attorney General’s Office were contacted to remove the body and organize an investigation into his death. With stories of drownings becoming more common in the Mexican Caribbean, tourists and locals alike are beginning to wonder why there isn’t a greater presence of lifeguards in the area.

Santa Fe beach has become a popular destination for tourists in recent years, due to its proximity to the archaeological ruins of Tulum and its crystal clear waters. The beach is also away from Cancun’s hotel zone, making it a less crowded alternative to Playa Delfines or Playa Ballenas.

Santa Fe Beach
Santa Fe Beach

However, the tranquility and beauty of this beach does not mean that tourists are safe from danger, as a similar drowning incident occurred on Santa Fe beach earlier this year: February 8e, another domestic tourist died on the beach after drowning in the ocean. The 36-year-old, from Mexico City, swam too far and then drowned. Lifeguards and first responders were not informed of his injuries until after swimmers pulled him out of the water and attempted to administer first aid themselves.

While authorities and rescuers attempted to resuscitate the man with CPR, they arrived far too late and the man’s life was lost. This makes it clear that there should be more authorities on the beach in Santa Fe, as it could help save the lives of countless others who may suffer the same fate.

two lifeguards watch

One solution that could curb potential drownings on Santa Fe beach is the re-institution of the Mexican Navy’s “Operation Lifeguard.” Originally implemented for this year’s summer holiday period (between July 29e – August 29e), the program was designed to “protect the integrity of all domestic and international travelers who have participated in water activities while on vacation.

The operation was carried out on the busiest beaches on the east and west coasts of Mexico. In Quintana Roo, special attention was given to popular beaches in Cancun’s Hotel Zone, as well as Playa Norte on Isla Mujeres and Playa El Cielo in Cozumel.

Cancun tourists on the beach near the hotel zone
A beach in the hotel zone of Cancun

Coastguard and Civil Protection authorities have also been included in the program, to ensure rapid communication between the authorities and the government in the event of a tourist emergency.

Members of the program included lifeguards, police, naval officers and government officials, who worked together to coordinate rescue actions and medical support for those in need.

navy boat

In particular, the Naval Maritime Search, Rescue and Surveillance Station (ENSAR) of Isla Mujeres has formed other lifeboat stations in Quintana Roo to respond to citizens in danger of drowning, equipping different lifeboat stations quick and up-to-date first aid kits.

red flag on cancun beach

As always, to reduce the risk of drowning, tourists are encouraged to respect the flag system at beaches throughout the Mexican Caribbean: a green flag means it is safe to swim in the ocean, a yellow flag means swimmers should exercise caution and a red flag means swimming is prohibited. Tourists wishing to visit Santa Fe Beach or any beach in the area should pay attention to what lifeguards say and report any cases of missing bathers or drownings to local authorities.

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