“There were a lot of tourists on Kata Beach yesterday, though the wind and the waves were both very strong, making any swimming in the surf dangerous,” Uten Singsom, chief Phuket Lifeguard Service lifeguard for Kata-Karon beaches, told The Phuket News today.
At about 3pm lifeguards noticed a Chinese man, about 40 years old, in distress.
“He needed help, so two of our lifeguards went into the water with surfboards and brought him safely back to shore,” Mr Uten said.
“Luckily, he survived, but he was not the only one – lifeguards had to rescue several others yesterday, too,” he added.
Mr Uten noted a lack of thanks from the people whose lives the lifeguards saved.
“After the Chinese tourist was rescued from the dangerous waves, he left without even saying ‘Thank you’. He just picked up his clothes and walked away.
“But in the big picture, we are not worried about it. Our job is to save people’s lives,” he added.
Mr Uten said that a big part of the problem remained tourists ignoring warning flags and verbal warnings from lifeguards to not enter the water.
“The problem is that tourists still ignore lifeguards’ warnings. They still ignore the red flags,” he said.
Mr Uten urged all people intending on swimming during the current heavy weather to observe the warning flags.
“Please swim only where it is marked with red-yellow flags indicating where it is safe to do so, and where lifeguards are on patrol,” he said.
“If you have a doubt, just do not go into the water at all,” Mr Uten advised.