Capt Suwisit Kirirak of the Karon Police was notified by local residents at 10:50pm that the woman’s body had been found washed up on the sand.
The woman, Shi Yiqing, from Jiangxi, was last seen playing in the surf with three friends at about 3pm, Capt Suwisit told The Phuket News this morning (Oct2).
“A search was launched by lifeguards and a team of rescue workers from Karon Municipality, but they were unable to find her,” he said.
Ms Shi’s body was taken to Patong Hospital.
“Chinese authorities have been notified,” Capt Suwisit confirmed.
Capt Suwisit expressed dire concern for people swimming at the beaches without the protection of lifeguards.
“We seriously need lifeguards at Kata and Karon beaches. We don’t have them anymore,” Capt Suwisit said.
“I heard that three people were rescued by local surfers at Kata and Karon beaches,” he added.
Asked who was patrolling Kata and Karon beaches to ensure surf safety now that the lifeguards have departed, Capt Suwisit replied, “I honestly don’t know.”
Capt Suwisit urged people to be careful if they intend to swim in the surf while the southwest monsoon continues to whip up strong surf, creating strong rip currents, along Phuket’s west coast.
“My advice is that if you find yourself being pulled away from the shore, please just focus on keeping your head above water then slowly swim at an angle back toward the beach,” he said.