A total of 47 Belgian nationals have died abroad while on holiday, a figure which amounts to nearly three deaths per day since the start of the holiday period, according to insurance data reported on local media on Wednesday.
The most recently reported death is that of a 64-year-old aviator from Antwerp, whose glider plane on Tuesday plunged from a distance of over a thousand metres into the French Alps, killing him and his Dutch passenger, 67.
On the same day, another Belgian drowned in turbulent waters in Spain, according to reports.
Data obtained by Belgian media shows that the total number of deaths that insurance companies have handled so far is of 47, a number which insurers say fall in line with figures from July 2018 (69 Belgian deaths) and July 2017 (68).
But with the season only starting, some company representatives told Belgian media that “the biggest wave is yet to come.”
“Most holidaymakers are just leaving now,” Xavier Van Caeneghem from Europ Assistance told VTM News.
The causes of each death vary from pre-existent medical conditions to traffic accidents, to overly-active holidaymakers who are otherwise mostly sedentary at home.
“People who exercise little at home and decide to climb a mountain or go on holiday in the burning sun can get medical problems faster,” the spokesperson told HLN.
The recent heatwave episodes that have battered Europe also risk creating a spike in the figures, insurers say.
“Certainly in combination with the heatwave in the southern countries, we expect many requests for medical assistance,” he said, adding: “Fortunately, they don’t often end with a death, but it happens.”
In addition, the figures show that over 2,000 Belgians have been hospitalised while on holiday so far, including a Belgian tourist who was seriously injured after a cliff fall in Italy.
The Brussels Times
Correction: A previous version of this article said that the total number of deaths was so far 47 since the start of the year. The total number of deaths so far is 47 since the start of the holiday period.