Las Vegas, Nevada
The Venetian hotel a top tourist destination on the strip had a bit of extra excitement on Monday, August 24th 2015. Two homeless men got into a restricted area by scaling over a fence to the other side and ended up in the deep canal. This portion of the canal can be seen from the strip on Las Vegas, Boulevard. This particular area of the canal is much wider than inside where the shops are located. The width is more like a pool in comparison to the rest of the canal. Like other large cities around the United States there are multitudes of people who visit for vacation, business or gambling. Most people are there to have fun and sadly might not notice the vast array of destitute individuals that frequent the strip. While it is not certain for sure if the men were seen by any bystanders they were seen by the hotel staff.
More importantly both men were seen by the hotel guards through the eye in the sky. Cameras are all over the luxury hotels in Las Vegas. Any normal hotel and this might not have been the case. Casino hotels are notorious for having a great magnitude of watchful eyes. The cameras are used to keep tabs on the gamblers and to keep the casino safe. The two men were quite lucky that they picked a monitored part of the hotel or their fate might have been sealed in untimely death. The area that was chosen for an impromptu swim was not one of the hotels many swimming pools. It was an area where swimming is not allowed.
It is unknown whether or not the men were aware of how deep that portion of the canal was. The water where they were found unconscious can get as deep as 12 feet. The way it looks can be quite deceiving. It gives the impression that it is only three to four feet deep. The canals were created to resemble the beautiful streets in Venice, Italy. The gondolas attract tourists for a ride through the canals, for an extra fee. It should be noted that the men who row the gondolas are also able to rescue, should someone fall over board. It is not known whether the gondolas were active when the men entered the water.
For most people this would not have been much of a feat because the canals are not all that wide. According to Ron Reese who is the spokesperson for the hotel addressing the media “neither of the two men knew how to swim.” So in all reality these two men were quite lucky that the security in the hotel were able to catch the event. Both men were breathing when found yet not alert or oriented. The Clark County Fire Department was then called fifteen minutes before eight in the morning on Monday with the report of what was considered to be either a drowning or possible diving accident. Both men were transferred to University Medical Center in South Nevada. One was treated and released and the other was listed in stable condition according to the hospital Spokesperson Erica Nansen on Thursday, August 27th 2015 who updated the status of the victims.
It is also important to note that these two men have been kicked out of the hotel more than one time. The men, being homeless have no place to go. It is not known whether they just tended to loiter or if they caused problems that concerned the local authorities. Unfortunately the men are not the only people who are homeless on the strip, city or even in the state. There is a high population of destitute individuals in the state of Nevada. Many just want to escape the elements and turn towards the massive hotels to beat the heat.
In Clark County in 2009 according to the city of Las Vegas government website there was 13,338 homeless living there and the numbers have only risen since. Quite often having a home becomes something most in the state take for granted. It is often forgotten that this special population faces many extra difficulties in addition to finding food. Most people do not think about how dangerous it can be for this segment of the population. In fact most people think about the cold being a factor but in all reality the desert heat can play a big role in the struggles that the homeless population deals with. In fact they consider July the hottest month and August right behind it as far as high temperature goes. So the weather or a need to bathe could have prompted the men to get into the canal for a refreshing swim. The names of the men have not been released so the public might never know what the motive was behind the swim.
According to the Southern Nevada Health district so far in 2015 there have been 41 near drownings. Seven of which have been fatal, just this year. This only takes into account those under the age of 14. Many are tempted to cool off in the water often not realizing how dangerous this can be. Alcohol can also play a role in drownings but it is unknown whether it did in this particular instance. There are grass root efforts across the nation to teach swimmer safety. The National Drowning Prevention Alliance was formed to educate the public about the dangers of swimming. It only take an inch of water for a drowning to occur. This is a huge problem across the states although most of the time it involves children, drowning does not discriminate.