There’s trouble in the Maldives paradise

Going to the Maldives? Here’s why you should be careful. Source: Shutterstock.

THE MALDIVES’ crystal clear waters and pristine white sand beaches drew over a million tourists to its tiny paradise archipelago annually.

Travelers love the Maldives for the stunning beach and water villas against its spectacular backdrop, the calmness, exclusivity, and luxury it exudes. The cluster of islands that make up the country is especially popular with honeymooners.

But it seems that there’s trouble in paradise.

Five tourists, including a honeymooning couple, have drowned in the Maldives this past week, prompting government officials to issue a nationwide safety warning.

On Jan 13, the honeymooning couple, both Filipinos, drowned. ABS-CBN reported that the man drowned first, then the woman sought help. “However, by the time someone had reached them on a dinghy, they were both motionless, afloat on the surface of the water,” the report read.

Then, an 84-year-old Czech tourist and a 66-year-old South Korean woman died within two days of each other at a resort while snorkeling. And on Jan 20, a Russian woman drowned on a dive trip.

The series of unfortunate events was due to strong underwater currents caused by a northeast monsoon and the accidents occurred as the tourists were snorkeling, diving, and swimming in the ocean just off the resorts in the sea.

Source: Shutterstock.

All resort operators have been urged to keep a close eye on their guests.

Meanwhile, the tourism ministry was in the process of identifying safe zones for ocean swimming and diving after the spike in drownings, officials said.

How to get out of a current

First and foremost, always remember that just because the surface is calm and slow, it doesn’t mean it’s safe. If you spot signs of potential danger, remove yourself from it.

If you get caught in one, remain calm. The more you struggle, the faster you will wear yourself out, and the less energy you will have to get out. Conserve as much energy as possible.

Swim parallel to the shore, out of the direction the current is pulling you at, so you can break free and escape it.

Of course, it goes without saying that being able to swim is an important survival skill you must have if you’re going out to sea.

If you can’t swim, don’t take any chances.