Nai Harn lifeguard Nara Ratnarak told The Phuket News, “There were strong waves at the beach this morning. At about 9am, one of our lifeguards saw the man standing in water that was only knee high, but in a red-flag zone at the northern end of the beach.
“Then two big waves hit him, which knocked him over and then the current started to drag him away from shore. The lifeguard ran into the water to get him, but by the time the lifeguard could get him back to the beach the tourist had no pulse.
“Lifeguards did CPR until Rawai Municipality rescue workers arrived,” he added.
A member of the Rawai rescue team told The Phuket News that the first-responders continued CPR in the ambulance, with Mr Dong regaining his own pulse en route to the Accident & Emergency Centre at the yet-to-fully-open Chalong Hospital
“We arrived at Chalong Hospital at 10.18 am. The tourist was then transferred to Vachira Phuket Hospital [in Phuket Town],” the rescue team member said.
Rawai Mayor Aroon Solos confirmed that the tourist, Dong Xuyan, is now in intensive care at Vachira Hospital.
“Mr Dong is conscious but cannot communicate,” reported Mayor Aroon.
Mr Dong came to Phuket with his wife and child. The family arrived in Phuket on Nov 2 and were staying at a villa near Yanui Beach, Mayor Aroon explained.
“Mr Dong is currently on a respirator to assist him with his breathing. He is under close watch by doctors with his wife and child by his side,” Mayor Aroon said.
Nai Harn Chief Lifeguard Mr Nara explained to The Phuket News that red “No Swimming” flags have been posted at sections of Nai Harn Beach were lifeguards deem it is not safe for swimmers to enter the water – or where there are no lifeguards to patrol that section of beach.
“Please do not enter the water where red flags are posted. It is too dangerous,” he said.
Additional reporting by Eakkapop Thongtub