Two Men Die in Traditional New Year’s Swim in Rijeka

Total Croatia News

The severe weather turns tradition into a tragedy.

A terrible tragedy took place during the traditional New Year’s swim in the sea at Pećine in Rijeka, with two participants drowning. According to Josip Površenić, one of the organisers of the traditional swim in front of the Jadran hotel, the accident occurred due to heavy winds and high waves, reports on January 1, 2018.

“They warned us from the hotel that we should not enter the sea due to the wind, but the weather started calming down. We agreed we would not swim due to the weather, but that we would just stand there, link our hands and make a circle. However, the waves were too high, and a tragedy occurred,” said Povrženić, according to Novi List.

According to the Primorje-Gorski Kotar Police Department, the police received a call at 12:10 today that there were bodies of two men in the sea in the Pećine area. After being taken out to the land, resuscitation was attempted, but it was too late. The victims of the tragedy are men aged 65 and 66 from the ​​Rijeka area. Several other swimmers also suffered minor injuries, but the exact number of people who have asked for medical help is still unknown.

Dino Škamo, head of the Vežice public fire brigade, said that the rescue conditions were extremely challenging. “It was a chaotic situation; a tradition has turned into a tragedy. We received a call that two people were drowning, but when I got there I found a mass of people on the beach and in the water, and I saw a man floating in the sea. I put on a diving suit and jumped in the sea, and was joined by my fellow firefighters. The rescue action was tough because the sea was throwing us all over the place. The southern wing jugo has again shown its vicious side,” said Škamo.

In total, 11 firefighters and three vehicles from the Vežica public fire brigade participated in the rescue mission, and two firefighters were injured slightly.

This has been the fourth year that the traditional New Year’s swim has been organised at that location.

Translated from


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