Marine SAR research

An overview of recent research relevant to marine SAR.

Fatal coastal drowning incidents: A 10-year review of body recovery times in New Zealand
Jonathon Webber, Kevin Moran, Claire French, Felicity Fozard, Olivia Pearless,
Forensic Science International, 2020

This study aimed to describe body recovery times and displacement for fatal coastal drowning incidents in New Zealand. Using DrownBase™, the National Coronial Information System, and media reports, data were extracted for all fatal coastal-missing-person drowning incidents from 2008 to 2017. A total of 219 cases were selected. Almost all incidents involved males (92%) and minority groups (e.g., Māori and Pasifika) were over-represented. Older adults (> 42 years) were more likely to be engaged in boating, whereas for younger adults (≤ 42 years), it was swimming. Most missing persons were described as good swimmers (51%) and wearing everyday clothing (48%), yet only 4% wore a lifejacket. Most incidents were observed (63%), and rescue was attempted in 86% of cases. Most bodies (58%) were recovered within 24h, and only 15% were not found (9%) or not reported (6%). Most missing persons (64%) were either found in the same location (53%) or <1km from where they entered the water (11%).