Girish Mahajan (Editor)

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.



  • Tiberinus Silvius, ninth Latin king of Rome, drowned in the Tiber, which was named after him.
  • Hippasus of Metapontum, a student of the mathematician Pythagoras, who, by some accounts, was drowned by his fellow Pythagoreans for the imprudence of discovering irrational numbers.
  • Qu Yuan of China in 278 BC. Committed ritual suicide as a form of protest against the corruption of the era, a sacrifice still commemorated today during the Duan Wu or Dragon Boat Festival.
  • Pharaoh Ptolemy XIII of Egypt, drowned in the Nile in 47 BC.
  • Antinous (born circa 111), lover of Roman Emperor Hadrian, drowned in the Nile in 130; the grieving emperor commissioned hundreds of statues of the youth and spread them around the Empire.
  • Maxentius, Roman Emperor, drowned in the Tiber during the chaos of the Battle of the Milvian Bridge on October, 28, 312.
  • Yuan Zhao, briefly an emperor of the Northern Wei, thrown together with Empress Dowager Hu into the Yellow River to drown
  • Li Bai, Chinese poet, in 762. It is, however, suggested that he died of excessive drinking or mercury poisoning.
  • Middle Ages

  • William Adelin (born 1103) and his half sister Matilda FitzEdith, countess of Perches (born circa 1090), children of king Henry I of England, drowned in the Channel on 25 November 1120 in the White Ship wreck.
  • Kilij Arslan died trying to escape across the Khabur river, having lost the battle that took place near the river.
  • Taira no Koremori is believed to have committed suicide in May 10, 1184 after defeated at the Battle of Kurikara.
  • Emperor Antoku, Taira no Tokiko, Tomomori, Noritsune and many other members of the Taira clan committed suicide on April 25, 1185 after defeated at the Battle of Dan-no-ura.
  • Friedrich I Barbarossa, Duke of Swabia and Holy Roman Emperor, drowned in the Göks River (Cilicia) on 6 June 1190 during the Third Crusade, leaving an unstable alliance between Richard I of England and Philip II of France.
  • Henry of Antioch, Henry of Poitiers or Henri de Poitiers, drowned at sea on 18 June/27 June/28 June 1276, son of Bohemund IV of Antioch and first wife Plaisance Embriaco de Giblet
  • King Magnus IV of Sweden and Norway (as Magnus VII), 1316 – 1374.
  • Saint John of Nepomuk, martyred by drowning in 1393.
  • Renaissance

  • Henry Holland, 3rd Duke of Exeter, Constable of the Tower of London, 1430 – 1475
  • George, Duke of Clarence (born 1449), executed for treason against his brother king Edward IV of England on 1478, by drowning in a barrel of Malmsey wine; or so the legend says, because modern assessments favour the traditional decapitation instead
  • Bartolomeu Dias, Portuguese explorer who sailed around the Cape of Good Hope. Drowned not far from the Cape of Good Hope in 1500
  • King Louis II of Hungary in the Csele Brook, on escape from the catastrophic Battle of Mohács (1526). Heavy cavalry armor impeded his ability to swim.
  • Felix Manz, co-founder of the Swiss Anabaptists, was drowned in 1527 in the Limmat in Zürich by the Zürich Reformed state church
  • Francisco Rodrigues Lobo (b. 1580), a Portuguese poet and writer of Sephardi Jewish origin, drowned on 4 November 1621
  • 18th Century

  • John William Friso of Orange-Nassau, stadholder of the Low Countries, in 1711
  • Miguel de Bragança (b. 1699), bastard son of King Peter II of Portugal, in the Tagus River on 13 January 1724
  • Peter Artedi, a disciple of Linnaeus, considered the father of Ichthyology, fell by accident in a channel of Amsterdam in 1735
  • 19th Century

  • Percy Bysshe Shelley, influential English Romantic poet, in a sudden storm while sailing off Livorno on 8 July 1822.
  • Charles Clement Johnston, U.S. Representatives from Virginia, drown in Atlantic near a dock in Alexandria, Virginia in 1832.
  • Lucas Barrett, English naturalist and geologist in 1862.
  • Gonçalves Dias, a Brazilian Romantic poet, playwright, ethnographer, lawyer and linguist, in 1864
  • Constantine W. Buckley, former Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, drowned in the Brazos River near Columbia, Texas on 19 December 1865.
  • William Collinson Sawyer 1st Bishop of Grafton and Armidaledied when the boat he was travelling in sank on the Clarence River.
  • Julius Krohn (b. 1835), founder of the scientific study of folklore, and influential journalist, author and translator. Ethnically German but active in Finland. Drowned in a freak sailing accident in 1888.
  • 1900s

  • Isadore Rush (born ?), American actress. Drowned off the beach at San Diego, Hotel Del Coronado November 1904.
  • Ernst Schultz (born 1879), Danish sprinter. Drowned while swimming in Roskilde Fjord, 20 June 1906.
  • 1910s

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • John Jacob Astor IV (born 1864), drowned in the Titanic disaster 1912.
  • Benjamin Guggenheim (born 1865), drowned in the Titanic disaster 1912.
  • Isidor Straus and wife Ida Straus, drowned in the Titanic disaster.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 1920s

  • William Wilton (born 1865), Scottish football manager (Rangers F.C.), drowned in a boating accident at Gourock, Scotland in 1920.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 1930s

  • J. W. H. T. Douglas, (1882–1930), cricketer, died unsuccessfully trying to rescue his father after a collision at sea.
  • Starr Faithfull (1906–1931), American socialite, drowned near Long Beach, New York in June 1931; whether her death was homicide, suicide or accident was never determined.
  • Bertie Johnston, Australian politician, drowned at Black Rock, Victoria in 1932.
  • Hart Crane, poet; suicide in the Caribbean in April 1932.
  • Eugene James (1913–1933), Kentucky Derby-winning American jockey drowned in Lake Michigan while swimming at Chicago's Oak Street Beach.
  • Jiro Sato (1908–1934), Japanese tennis player, committed suicide in the Strait of Malacca on April 5, 1934.
  • James Murray, (1901–1936), actor, found drowned in the Hudson River, possible suicide.
  • 1940s

  • Virginia Woolf (born 1882), British writer, committed suicide on 28 March 1941.
  • Osamu Dazai (born 1909), Japanese writer, committed shinjū in the Tamagawa Aqueduct on June 13, 1948.
  • 1950s

  • Arky Vaughan (born 1912), baseball Hall of Famer, drowned after falling from his fishing boat on 30 August 1952.
  • 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.
  • 1960s

  • David Kenyon Webster, of the 101st Airborne (Band of Brothers) was lost at sea, September 6, 1961, while studying sharks. Presumed drowned.
  • Johnny Burnette, pop singer known for hits such as You're Sixteen drowned after a boating accident on August 14, 1964.
  • Prince Frederick of Prussia (born 1911), died in 1966 at Reinhartshausen, Germany after drowning in the Rhine.
  • Eric Fleming, actor best known for his role in the CBS series Rawhide, drowned on 28 September 1966, in a remote river in Peru's back country while filming the made-for-TV movie "Selva Alta" ("High Jungle") for MGM.
  • Harold Holt, serving Prime Minister of Australia, presumed drowned on 17 December 1967.
  • Brian Jones (born 1942), original guitarist of The Rolling Stones, drowned in Hartfield, Sussex, England, in his own swimming pool on 3 July 1969. Classified as "death by misadventure".
  • Mary Jo Kopechne (born 1940), drowned in Edward Kennedy's Oldsmobile Delta 88 in a car accident off of Chappaquiddick Island in mid-July 1969.
  • 1970s

  • Albert Ayler, jazz musician, suspected suicide November 1970.
  • Cengaver Katrancı (born 1964), a Turkish boy, who lived in West Berlin. He is one of the youngest victims of the Berlin Wall’s existence. Drowned in the Spree in October 30, 1972.
  • István Kertész, orchestral conductor, accident, 16 April 1973.
  • Josef Mengele (born 1911), war criminal and leader of the Nazi human experimentation programme, drowned while swimming off the Brazilian coast in 1979.
  • 1980s

  • Natalie Wood (born 1938), actress, drowned in a yachting accident in 1981; the accident raised several suspicions and murder was considered.
  • 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.
  • Dennis Wilson (born 1944), one of the members of the Beach Boys, drowned in 1983 at Marina del Rey, California, while diving after drinking.
  • 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.
  • Fernando Pereira Dutch photographer drowned when French agents sank the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior, July the 10th, 1985.
  • Carol Wayne, American actress who drowned under mysterious circumstances in Manzanillo, Mexico in 1985.
  • Jerry Anderson, former NFL football player who drowned while saving a boy who had fallen into a flooded creek in 1989.
  • 1990s

  • Jim Hodder, (born 1947), American drummer who drowned in his pool in 1990.
  • Robert Maxwell, newspaper magnate, disappeared from his yacht under mysterious circumstances in 1991, body later recovered off the coast of Tenerife.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 2000s

  • Spalding Gray (born 1941), monologuist and actor (Swimming to Cambodia), drowned in a suspected suicide in New York City's East River in 2004.
  • Tom Rogers (born 1918), creator of Charlie the Tuna for StarKist, drowned in his son's swimming pool while swimming alone, in Charlottesville, VA on June 24, 2005. He was 87 years old.
  • Édouard Michelin (born 1963), French businessman, drowned while fishing near the island of Sein in northwest France, in 2006.
  • Barbara Precht, pulled from the Ohio River on 29 November 2006. Her body was not identified until November 2014. She died from drowning due to unknown circumstances.
  • Rafael Donato (born 1938), distinguished Filipino educator and university president, accidentally drowned off the coast of Morong, Bataan, in the Philippines in 2006.
  • Marquise Hill (born 1982), Defensive End for the New England Patriots, accidentally drowned in Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans after a jet ski accident on 27 May 2007.
  • Jeremy Blake (born 1971), American digital artist and painter, drowned on or around July 17, 2007 in the Atlantic Ocean in an apparent suicide (although some suspect he was murdered by Scientologists) after being reported missing off Rockaway Beach, Queens, New York. His body was found in the water off Sea Girt, New Jersey on July 22, 2007.
  • Seth Tobias (born 1963), American hedge fund manager, drowned on September 4, 2007 while under the influence of drugs and alcohol in his swimming pool in Jupiter, Florida
  • Kari Blackburn (born 1954), BBC World Service executive, drowned (suicide) at sea at Felixstowe, Suffolk, England in 2007.
  • Katoucha Niane (born 1960), French model, drowned in the Seine in 2008.
  • Pit Martin (born 1943), Canadian ice hockey player, drowned after his snowmobile fell through thin ice in Quebec in 2008.
  • Ophélie Bretnacher, a French student, drowned in the Danube between December 2008 and February 2009.
  • 2010s

  • Toshiharu Ikeda, Japanese film director and screenwriter, committed suicide in December 2010.
  • Marie-France Pisier, French actress, found dead in her swimming pool April 2011.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Maria Ladenburger, died of drowning in the German river Dreisam on October, 16th 2016 after beeing sexually assaulted.
  • References

    List of drowning victims Wikipedia

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