Supat, a student at Wat Mongkolwararam School, was one of six friends playing in the shore break at Nai Yang beach yesterday (July 30) when they were overpowered by big waves and started being dragged away from the beach.
The boys were playing in knee-deep water when they were overpowered by the strong waves.
Two of the boys were rescued by a local surfer, Norwegian national Terje Tonnessen, 37. The other three scrambled to shore by themselves. (See story here.)
Supat was swept away.
The search today, by Navy rescue teams, local officials and residents, and even members of the Surin Bangtao Surf Lifesaving Club trained as Ocean Lifeguards by the International Surf Lifesaving Association (ISLA), concluded fruitless.
Local officials set up floodlights on the beach this evening as a precaution as volunteers keep watch overnight.
Hopes are fading for the survival of young Supat, with people placing incense sticks in the sand at the beach amid their prayers.
The incident, yet to be recognised by provincial officials, raises grave questions about the ability of lifeguards at the beach to carry out any form of rescue of people caught up in dangerous surf or deadly rip currents at the beach.
Red flags were posted along the entire length of Nai Yang Beach after it became known that Supat had been swept away from shore by a rip.
Local residents and beachgoers confident of staying safe while in the water quickly launched a search for the boy, while lifeguards stayed on shore.
The Phuket News has yet to confirm exactly how well trained the lifeguards are to carry out a surf rescue, their skill at swimming in strong surf and whether they had any equipment at all to safely carry out a surf rescue without endangering themselves.