Dive-Related Fatalities Among Tourist and Local Divers in the Northern Croatian Littoral (1980–2010)
Article first published online: 31 JAN 2013
© 2013 International Society of Travel Medicine
Journal of Travel Medicine
Volume 20, Issue 2, pages 101–106, March/April 2013
How to Cite
Stemberga, V., Petaros, A., Rasic, V., Azman, J., Sosa, I., Coklo, M., Uhac, I. and Bosnar, A. (2013), Dive-Related Fatalities Among Tourist and Local Divers in the Northern Croatian Littoral (1980–2010). Journal of Travel Medicine, 20: 101–106. doi: 10.1111/jtm.12011
- Issue published online: 7 MAR 2013
- Article first published online: 31 JAN 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 5 DEC 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 25 NOV 2012
- Manuscript Received: 24 JUL 2012
The aim of the study was to retrospectively analyze diving fatalities occurring in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County (northern Croatian littoral), Croatia between 1980 and 2010 in order to identify differences between fatally injured tourist and resident divers, as well as temporal changes in the frequency of diver deaths.
Medico-legal and police reports of 47 consecutive fatal diving cases were reviewed to determine the frequency of death among divers in relation to year and month of death, age, sex, nationality, organization of diving, diving type, and health condition.
The majority of victims were foreign citizens (59.6%) most of whom fell victim to scuba diving (70.4%). It was found that 79% of resident divers succumbed during free-diving. The number of diving fatalities increased significantly in the last three decades, especially among free-divers. Of the victims, 93% were males, usually belonging to younger age groups with tourist divers being significantly older than local divers. And 31.9% of divers, mostly tourists, showed signs of acute, chronic, or congenital pathological conditions.
Fatally injured foreign divers differ from resident diver fatalities in diving method and age. Tourists are the group most at risk while scuba diving according to the Croatian sample. Occupational scuba divers and free-divers are the group most at risk among resident divers. This study is an important tool in uncovering the most common victims of diving and the related risk factors. It also highlights the problems present in the legal and medical monitoring of recreational divers and discusses possible pre-event, event, and post-event preventive actions that could lead to reduced mortality rates in divers.