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Berlin: Deadly Bathing Accidents and Trouble at ‘Weisser See’ Lake

Jumping into lakes in the heat is a great idea, unless it is not allowed. In the past two weeks, two bathers who swam in the forbidden part of ‘Weisser See’ lake drowned. Still, people do not adhere to any rules out there.

Berlin, July 5th, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) — At Weisser See (German spelling: Weißer See), a nice little lake located in a park in Berlin’s Weissensee (Weißensee) neighborhood, big and unambiguous signs make people aware of the rules: Swimming or bathing outside the official lake bath’s area is forbidden, the birds on and around the lake and their breeding places have to be left alone. Causing noise is supposed to be avoided and lighting fires is not allowed either. All trash has to be thrown into waste bins around the lake.

At Weisser See, some Berliners did not care about the rules on Monday. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Noise and Trash

Many Berliners don’t adhere to any of the rules. They keep on swimming in forbidden areas, they play loud music, throw their waste all over the place, including into the water, and they disturb the ducks and other birds that live in the lake. Recently, some idiots even stole the eggs swans were breeding. A lady who walked her dog at Weisser See on Monday said even though she lived close by, she did not really like to walk her puppy in the park around the lake anymore, because of all the noise and the trash.

There is an official lake bath with a designated bathing and swimming area. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Right next to her, two young men who seemed to be intoxicated already consumed some more beer. Two park guards spoke to them, but their message did not seem to arouse too much interest. A few steps away, dozens of completely naked and half-naked people were entering the water illegally. Nobody was there to stop them. Apart from messing up the park and the lake, and disturbing the birds, they put themselves in danger.

This 1960s-style bath would make a great shooting location for movies set in that decade. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Reasons Unknown

There is seaweed in the lake. Getting tangled up in it could be dangerous and lead to more deadly swimming accidents, the lady with the cute little dog told The Berlin Spectator. A woman who runs a rowing boat rental at Weisser See did not want to comment on anything “because the press always twists all stories around”. This was why she did not want reporters to shoot photos of her boats either.

This cute doggy, Elsa, was walked at Weisser See on Monday. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Obviously, the biggest problem is safety. On Friday June 24th, 2022, shortly before 7:00 p.m., a young lady approached an employee at the bath located on the eastern side of the lake and said her boyfriend had not returned from a swim. Shortly before, he had left the designated area in the water. Until today, it is unclear why he drowned shortly after. The search for him took many hours. The next day, on June 25th, police divers found the 26-year-old’s body on the lake’s ground. This was less than a week after another young man drowned in the same lake. He was 17 years old.

At the official bath, a young lifesaver from Colombia watches all bathers and warns them not to leave the marked area. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Not Recommended

These sad bathing accidents are not limited to Weisser See. A 59-year-old man drowned in Flughafensee, a lake in Berlin’s Tegel borough, in June. Yet another man tried to swim from Alt-Stralau, a little peninsula in the Spree river, to Treptower Park. He never reached it. Berlin’s Water Police and the Fire Department searched for him, for hours, without success. The authorities say swimming in the Spree was dangerous and not recommended. This past weekend, on Saturday July 3rd, 2022, a 30-year-old man drowned in Schlachtensee.

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