Be Aware Of Hydrocution In This Hot Weather: Woman Dies From Suspected ‘Thermal Shock’ At Murcia Beach

Image of Percheles beach in Mazarron, Murcia.

Image of Percheles beach in Mazarron, Murcia. Credit: Ingegneriadell´elizia/Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

A 40-year-old woman died from suspected hydrocution in the Region of Murcia this Thursday, August 3.

At the time of the incident, she was bathing at Percheles beach located in the Murcian town of Mazarrón. Her body was recovered from the sea by three lifeguards who were on duty there.

The 112 Emergency Services received an alert from Mazarrón Civil Protection at around 6:35 pm informing the operator that members of Plan Copla were in the process of rescuing a person from the water at the aforementioned beach.

It is believed that the deceased woman suffered a thermal shock and subsequently went into cardiac arrest. After getting her back to the shore, cardiopulmonary resuscitation manoeuvres were performed on the lady, according to

An ambulance from the Emergency and Health Emergencies Management promptly arrived at the beach after being deployed by the 112 coordinating centre. They continued efforts to revive the woman but she was eventually pronounced dead at the scene.

A change in a person’s body temperature can cause thermal shock

Hydrocution occurs when a person’s body undergoes a sudden change in temperature. In this case, it could have been that the woman was sunbathing and her body heated up.

If she then entered the sea with the intention of cooling down, the colder temperature of the water probably caused the body to react badly and sent her into cardiac arrest.

Of course, this was only the hypothesis and the actual cause will be determined when a post-mortem examination is carried out on her body.

An article by Dr Adelaida Sánchez explained hydrocution

As explained in an article by Dr Adelaida Sánchez, the head of the paediatric service at the Hospital Quirónsalud Marbella, hydrocution is not only exclusively associated with digestion.

We have often been advised to wait a few hours after eating to avoid a ‘digestion cut’ after meals if the intention is to go swimming.

The physician explained that hydrocution: ‘occurs as a consequence of a sudden change in temperature when entering cold water precipitously, those degrees of difference cause a reaction of the blood vessels (they narrow) and therefore less blood flows to the brain which can lead to fainting’.

‘The danger of losing consciousness in the water lies in the fact that drowning can occur’, the doctor emphasised. Although the condition can occur due to digestion issues, Dr Sanchez pointed out that: ‘the highest incidence of cases occurs in people who bathe after having exercised or sunbathing for a long time’.

‘If you have eaten lightly, it is enough to acclimatise your body to the water and enter the beach or pool in stages. But if the food has been very copious, it is advisable to wait before getting into the water’, she added.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at