List of drowning victims

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This is a list of drowning victims in chronological order. The reasons for drowning are diverse and range from suicide, to accidents or murders.


Middle Ages[edit]


18th Century[edit]

19th Century[edit]

Twentieth century[edit]



  • Sir W. S. Gilbert (b. 1836), British humorist, librettist of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas, drowned on 29 May 1911 while going to the rescue of two other swimmers in the lake at his home. He may have died from a heart attack rather than by drowning.[20]
  • Michel Tamarati (born 1858), a Georgian Catholic priest and historian, died while trying to rescue a drowning man in stormy sea near Santa Marinella, Italy, on September 16, 1911.[21]
  • John Jacob Astor IV (born 1864), drowned in the Titanic disaster 1912.[22]
  • Benjamin Guggenheim (born 1865), drowned in the Titanic disaster 1912.[23]
  • Isidor Straus and wife Ida Straus, drowned in the Titanic disaster.[24]
  • Grigori Rasputin (died 1916), Russian mystic and Imperial adviser. The aristocratic faction tried to kill him using several methods, including, after poison, several gunshots; this is believed to be the main cause of his death, but after his body was thrown in the Neva River (and later recovered), many tend to believe that drowning was the final cause of his death. For others, attributing death by drowning means adding to a legend.[25]
  • Enrique Granados, drowned after jumping out of a lifeboat to rescue his wife, following the torpedoing of their ship by the German navy during World War I, in 1916.[26]
  • Tom Thomson, Canadian painter who died in a canoeing accident in Algonquin Provincial Park in 1917.


  • William Wilton (born 1865), Scottish football manager (Rangers F.C.), drowned in a boating accident at Gourock, Scotland in 1920.[27]
  • Little Lord Fauntleroy (murder victim), an unidentified child found in Waukesha, Wisconsin on March 8, 1921. He had been hit in the head with a blunt instrument and was thrown into a quarry, which resulted in his death.[28]
  • Sacadura Cabral, died on 15 November 1924 after his airplane disappeared over the English Channel, along with his co-pilot Mechanical Corporal José Correia. As no bodies were found, it is not known whether they actually drowned.[29]




  • Arky Vaughan (born 1912), baseball Hall of Famer, drowned after falling from his fishing boat on 30 August 1952.[39]
  • Susan Martin (1945–1958) and Virginia Martin (1947–1958) died by drowning in the Columbia River in unexplained circumstances when they, along with their mother, father, and older sister, disappeared in December 1958.[40]




  • Natalie Wood (born 1938), actress, drowned in a yachting accident in 1981 off of Santa Catalina Island; the accident raised several suspicions and murder was considered and the case was reopened in 2011 and is now categorized as suspicious with husband Robert Wagner named as a person of interest.[53]
  • Joe Delaney (born 1958), Running back for the Kansas City Chiefs, accidentally drowned in 1983 while trying to save three children who were screaming for help.[54]
  • Dennis Wilson (born 1944), one of the members of the Beach Boys, drowned in 1983 at Marina del Rey, California, while diving after drinking.[55]
  • Jessica Savitch (born 1947), NBC and PBS news broadcaster and reporter, drowned in 1983 when the car in which she was riding went off the road during a heavy rainstorm into a canal, sank upside down in mud and filled with water.[56]
  • Fernando Pereira Dutch photographer drowned when French agents sank the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior, July the 10th, 1985.[57]
  • Carol Wayne, American actress who drowned under mysterious circumstances in Manzanillo, Mexico in 1985.[58]
  • Jerry Anderson, former NFL football player who drowned while saving a boy who had fallen into a flooded creek in 1989.[59]


  • Jim Hodder, (born 1947), American drummer who drowned in his pool in 1990.[43]
  • Robert Maxwell, newspaper magnate, disappeared from his yacht under mysterious circumstances in 1991, body later recovered off the coast of Tenerife.[60]
  • Kiyoshi Nishimura, Japanese film maker, committed suicide on November 17, 1993
  • Tom Mees, longtime sportscaster for ESPN, drowned while trying to rescue his 4-year-old daughter in a neighbor's swimming pool, in 1996. The daughter survived.[61]
  • David Chan Yuk-cheung (Chinese: 陈毓祥, born 1950), a leader of Baodiao movement in Hong Kong, drowned in the sea during a protest in 1996.
  • Jeff Buckley (born 1966), singer-songwriter, drowned in the Wolf River in Memphis, Tennessee in 1997.[62]
  • Miguel Flores (born 1979), a high school student, drowned in Black's Beach in La Jolla, California in 1995.
  • Nerine Kidd Shatner (Born July 13, 1959) actress/model and the third wife of William Shatner drowned while swimming alone in the couple's pool.[63]

21st century[edit]



  • Dawn Brancheau, SeaWorld trainer, killed during a killer whale show and suffered a blunt trauma on February 24, 2010.
  • Toshiharu Ikeda, Japanese film director and screenwriter, committed suicide in December 2010.[75]
  • Marie-France Pisier, French actress, found dead in her swimming pool April 2011.[76]
  • Nandana, the 8-year-old daughter of Indian singer K. S. Chithra, drowned after falling into a swimming pool in Dubai, April 2011.
  • Whitney Houston, American singer, found dead in her bathtub following a barbiturate overdose, February 2012.
  • Rodney King, American construction worker, victim of police brutality, found dead in his swimming pool with alcohol, marijuana and cocaine in his system, June 2012.
  • Elisa Lam, Canadian tourist in Los Angeles, found in the water tank atop the hotel where she was staying on February 19, 2013.[77]
  • David Bird, American journalist, found in a river near his home 14 months after he was last seen alive in early 2014.
  • Maiko Bartolome, a former EB Babe and 6 other students died during an unexplained water rise while crossing a river in 2014.
  • Sally Brampton, English journalist, writer and magazine editor, committed suicide by walking into the sea at St Leonards on 10 May 2016.[78]
  • Maria Ladenburger, died of drowning in the German river Dreisam on October, 16th 2016 after being sexually assaulted.
  • Rochelle Melissa De Torres, a 23-year-old Filipino-born Canadian visual artist lived in Scarborough, Ontario, died of accidental drowning during a vacation in Santa Coya Maria, Cuba on December 13, 2017 while trying to rescue her partner. De Torres was born on January 27, 1994 in the Philippines and has formerly attended St. Thomas More Catholic School and Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary School as well as OCAD University. [79]
  • Sridevi, veteran Indian actress, died aged 54 on 24 February 2018 after drowning in the bathtub of her room in a hotel in Dubai, where she had gone to attend a marriage. Initially, the cause of her death was known as a heart attack, but it was later confirmed to be drowning. It is believed that she was under the influence of alcohol when she died.
  • Eric Geboers, age 55, a 5-time Belgian world champion motocross racer, died on 6 May 2018, while trying to save a drowning dog.[80]
  • Ray Emery, Canadian ice hockey goaltender, drowned in Hamilton Harbour on July 15, 2018.


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