Missing Kayakers in Dubrovnik: A Search Amid Adverse Weather
On Monday afternoon, a kayaking incident occurred near Dubrovnik on the island of Lokrum as a result of unfavorable weather conditions. Several kayaks capsized, with 11 people reported to be involved. At the time of the incident, nine of the individuals were rescued, leaving a younger man and woman unaccounted for. However, no missing person reports were filed with the police.
The Search Operation
The search operation, initially suspended during the night due to harsh conditions, was resumed early in the morning. The police appealed to property owners to report any missing guests, but no such reports were received. The operation was further complicated by the strong Bura wind, which was expected to subside around noon. The search area encompassed the vicinity of Lokrum island, part of the old city port, and the Pile area in the west of Dubrovnik. As the day progressed, the search expanded to part of the Koločep Channel towards Orašac, Zaton, and the island of Koločep.
Search Concluded, but Questions Remain
In the afternoon, confirmation was received from Harbour Master, Mato Kekez, that the search operation for the missing kayakers had concluded. The last kayak, complete with all its equipment, was discovered tied up on Lokrum. This finding led to the assumption that the kayak had not been at sea. Despite this development, the police continued the search operation both at sea and on land to ensure the safety of all individuals involved.
Operation Details and Challenges
The rescue operation, led by the Harbour Master’s office, focused on the area where the kayaks were last seen and the wider sea band around that area. A collaborative effort ensued involving the police, the harbour master’s office, firefighters, and local excursion boats. The circumstances surrounding the accident remain unclear, with reports suggesting that the missing individuals did not have a guide and had rented the kayak themselves. This incident sheds light on a systemic issue – the lack of records from sea equipment renters, particularly boats.
Unfavorable Conditions and Safety Concerns
The rescue operation was conducted under adverse weather conditions, with high waves and gusts of wind up to 80 kilometers per hour. These conditions led to concerns about the decision to allow tourists to rent equipment under such unfavorable conditions. Two German citizens were rescued in a visibly shocked state, and concerns were further raised when two floating jackets were discovered during the rescue operation.
While the search operation has concluded, this incident serves as a poignant reminder of the potential risks associated with water sports, particularly in adverse weather conditions. It underscores the necessity for stricter regulations on sea equipment rentals, ensuring the safety of all participants, locals and tourists alike.
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