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Ice-related drownings in Finland quadruple

People spent a lot of time outdoors in 2020, which was an exceptionally warm year in Finland.

Jäänaskalit jäällä.
No ice-covered body of water is without risk. Image: Matti Björkman / Lehtikuva

Last year, 113 people drowned in Finland, according to preliminary figures from the Finnish Swimming Teaching and Lifesaving Federation (FSL).

Twenty-eight of these deaths were ice-related incidents, up from six in 2019. The federation attributed the increase to people spending more time outdoors, thin and weak ice as well as to 2020 being unusually warm.

December saw ten drownings, nine of whom were men who all slipped through ice.

From 2010-2019 a third of ice-related drowning deaths involved motor vehicles on ice, according to FSL. A quarter of people drowning in icy waters were walkers while a fifth were fishers. Skaters, skiers and sledders made up the rest of those falling through the ice.

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