WAKE COUNTY, N.C. — A 24-year-old Fayetteville man is the latest in a string of accidental drowning deaths in North Carolina.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, at least nine people have drown in our state since Memorial Day alone; the latest being Clifford Lee. While the accidents can not all be prevented, experts say it is important for both young and old to learn the basics of water safety.
"Statistically we know on average over nine people a day drown in the US and unfortunately we've had some very tragic loss of life very recently in the last few weeks," said Triangle American Red Cross Director Barry Porter.
Of those 10 drowning deaths in the US, 80 percent are 15-years-old and older. In North Carolina, the Injury and Violence Prevention branch of DHHS reports that 119 of the of 147 deaths in 2010 were also aged 15 and up.
"The American Red Cross did a survey of over 1200 adults, and we found that 48-percent of them expressed a near drowning experience,” said Porter.
Statistics also show there were 109 accidental drownings in 2011 compared to 86 in 2004. Some adults say learning to swim is like riding a bike, and if they don't gain the skills at an early age, they are often too embarrassed to seek help.
"A lot of times for adults too, putting their face in is a difficult thing, 30 or 40 years of fear that you have to overcome in order for them to feel comfortable in the water," said veteran swim instructor Jim Garven.
However experts say knowing what do and how to maneuver while in the water, is vital no matter your age
"People can drown in one inch of water all the way to falling into a pool, off a boat, just for safety reasons they've learned they need to swim,” said Triangle Aquatics Center Director Julia Herman.
For more information about accidental drowning, safety tips, or class convenient for all ages: