British International School, Phuket
Tengoku British International School, Phuket
The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Login | Create Account | Search

Family and colleagues praise drowned doctor

Family and colleagues praise drowned doctor

PHUKET: Family and colleagues of a Thai doctor from Chiang Mai who drowned in dangerous surf at Kata Noi Beach on Thursday (July 14) have praised him as a hero and man of courage who they believe would not have hesitated to sacrifice himself to help others.

By Eakkapop Thongtub

Saturday 16 July 2022, 04:14PM

Surasit Phonglaohaphan, otherwise known as Dr Toh, was pulled from the water by lifeguards along with British tourist, Ali Mohammed Mian, who was in Phuket on his honeymoon.

Both had reportedly ignored the red flags on the beach warning of strong waves and rip currents which made swimming too dangerous, and both were swept away from the shore, lifeguards reported.

Dr Toh, 55, and Mr Mian, 33, were pulled from the water unconscious and unresponsive. Lifeguards were unable to detect a pulse and administered CPR on the beach until an EMS unit arrived and took the men to Chalong Hospital. Both were pronounced dead on arrival.

It was not clear whether both got into difficulty in the water separately or whether one of the men had attempted to help the other. Authorities have offered no official comment to this effect although one Phuket News reader present at the beach at the time of the incident did comment she saw Mr Mian attempting to help Dr Toh after he got into trouble and “as lifeguards were too slow”.

“They were both swimming between red and yellow flags when they were swept out and across the breach. I witnessed the whole event,” the observer said.

Dr Toh’s family and colleagues, however, say they would not be surprised if it had been the other way round and it was he that had attempted to help Mr Mian and he subsequently died as a result.

Dr Toh was a specialist at Lampang Hospital Social Medicine Group who instinctively helped others, an unnamed member of his family said.

The 55-year-old was a kind, caring, selfless individual who got along well with everyone he met, the family member added. He was also a keep-fit fanatic who, when he wasn’t working, would regularly be found running, to the extent that he received the nickname “Dr Running”.

Dr Toh’s body was transferred to his hometown where a merit-making ceremony is being held for him at Wat Suan Dok, Mueang District, Lampang Province, today.

Lampang Hospital has confirmed is will be hosting prayers tomorrow at 9:30am. Afterwards Dr Toh’s body will be taken to the Faculty of Medicine at Chiang Mai University.

Following the dual drownings, Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew called on lifeguards to ramp up their efforts to protect tourists at Phuket beaches as strong waves and rip currents continue to plague the island’s west coast.

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.


ematt | 17 July 2022 - 13:38:19

Lovely sentiment Christy; I agree. On the other hand, John C cannot resist the opportunity to make an ugly comment. What a sad and hateful existence you must live. 

Fascinated | 17 July 2022 - 11:23:15

Pretty crass comment from the man's family given whet the witness said. One would have thought a doctor would have more intelligence than to go swimming in heavy surf.

Kurt | 17 July 2022 - 11:22:43

Condolences to both families. Now there are different stories of what really happend going around. Has the police already taken official statements of Life guards on duty? Were where they, did they tell the 2 persons not going into the water? Correct flags shown? We never hear about role Life guards play during this disasters. Why is that? Don't they carry any responsebility at all?

JohnC | 17 July 2022 - 08:41:31

Are we seriously supposed to believe that a doctor from Chiang Mai who, like 99% of all Thais, can't swim to save themselves was actually trying to save the tourist?? How can his family so stupidly even suggest such a thing. If he is so clever why was he in the ocean in such conditions. Certainly shows that an eductation does not make you a smart person.

christysweet | 16 July 2022 - 18:41:05

How awful for that bride and what a waste of Dr Toh's education and  service to his community. Deepest condolences to both families. 


Have a news tip-off? Click here


Phuket community
Charity event confirmed to support World Stroke Day

yes i also though this was really need it charity raise.. next let do one for the world scam day.....(Read More)

Singaporean tourist killed in collision with tour bus

can they test the drovers ( Thai ) to see if any Alcohol or drugs had been used ? ...(Read More)

500,000 baby shrimp released for Queen Sirikit’s birthday

Actually JohnC and I much of the time think the same of matters. However, we articulate different. N...(Read More)

Police nab more drug and firearms offenders

JohnC is right. It seems the 5 raids/5 arrests were done as a training session for RTP officers wit...(Read More)

Ousted Sri Lankan leader to visit city

The ousted refugee Sri Lanka leader is since his 'abdication' a jobless foreign civilian, no...(Read More)

Singaporean tourist killed in collision with tour bus

Of course, the "preliminary investigation" by police instantly blames the tourist. Is it p...(Read More)

500,000 baby shrimp released for Queen Sirikit’s birthday

Dek missed the point that I supported/added to JohnC's comment...(Read More)

Police nab more drug and firearms offenders

Is it really necessary to write a whole paragraph (the longest paragraph) just to list the names of ...(Read More)

Phuket mangrove land corruption probe falters

So, Khun governor orders all corrupt officials involved in this hotbed of corruption to "help r...(Read More)

Ousted Sri Lankan leader to visit city

@Kurt Maybe you could send a note to the government or immigration about international rules accomp...(Read More)