In contrast to drowning scenes shown in the movies or on TV shows, the signs of drowning are often quite subtle and may not appear to be serious. This is because of the Instinctive Drowning Response, which Dr. Francesco Pia identified as the ways in which a person tries to avoid suffocating in the water. Observing the signs of the Instinctive Drowning Response can help you to identify someone who is drowning and get help to her immediately.