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Hong Kong tourist drowns at Phuket Beach

Hong Kong tourist drowns at Phuket Beach

PHUKET: A British national from Hong Kong drowned in deadly waves after being caught in a rip and dragged away from shore at Surin Beach, on Phuket’s west coast, this afternoon (July 3).

By Eakkapop Thongtub

Wednesday 3 July 2019, 08:23PM

The man, 52, and his 25-year-old son* arrived in Phuket last Sunday (June 30), Capt Warawut Sensob of the Cherng Talay Police told The Phuket News.

The two arrived at the beach at about 2:30pm today and were in the water only five minutes before someone noticed they were in trouble, caught in a rip and being dragged away from shore at the northern end of the beach, he explained.

Local beach-goer Amnad Chuasaman raised the alarm and went into the water to help them, Capt Warawut said.

Mr Amnad reached the son first and brought him ashore. The son was then rushed to Thalang Hospital.

Mr Amnad then went back out into the dangerous surf, but by the time he reached the father, the tourist was already unconscious, face down in the water.

The man was brought back to the beach, but attempts to revive him failed, Capt Warawut explained.

The downing today follows heated warnings by local residents on social media, noting that there are currently no lifeguards stationed at Surin Beach, meaning there are no red flags posted to warn beachgoers where the water is too dangerous to swim.

Local sufers noted that waves today were not as large or strong as they can be at this time of year, but that the rip today was very dangerous.

One local surfer told The Phuket News that he attempted to help a Russian man and his friend in dangerous surf at the beach yesterday, only to be rebuked.

The tourists had entered the water with no understanding of what danger lay lurking in the waves. Soon both the Russian man and his friend combatting the surf with “flailing arms” and returned to the beach “on his hands and knees in the sand… exhausted and bewildered”.

Thai Residential

The drowning today also followed the rescue of 25-year-old Thai man Wanchalerm Sata at Surin Beach on Sunday (June 30) and that of a foreign woman dragged away from Karon Beach by a dangerous rip.

Both Mr Wanchalerm and the foreign woman – age, name and nationality not reported – survived and were taken for immediate first aid treatment. (See story here.)

As reported by The Phuket News yesterday, the lack of information about the rescues on Sunday not only highlighted the dire issue of Phuket not having trained lifeguards. It also highlighted that lack of contact persons to pass on critical warnings or report any drownings or rescues carried out in saving tourists’ lives.

The most recent surf-danger warning came from the International Surf Life Saving Association (ISLA), which after contacting the trained and qualified lifeguards at Nai Harn Beach issued a “High Surf Warning” for the Andaman Sea amid dangerous southwest monsoon conditions on June 23. (See story here.)

Early last month, the head of the Phuket Lifeguard Club, whose trained and qualified lifeguards patrol Patong Beach, warned tourists that the change in weather from heavy rain to blue skies overhead did not mean that the surf was safe to enter.

All beach-goers were urged to exercise caution as the southwest monsoon began to churn the surf along the west coast, creating strong waves and moving flash rips. (See story here.)

 The death of a tourist today also comes just six days after Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana held a high-profile public meeting with the Chinese Consul General in Songkhla Ma Fengchun and Phuket Chinese Consular Office Vice Consul-General Li Chunfu to highlight how safe and convenient it is for Chinese tourists to come to Phuket. (See story here.)

It also comes just two days since Governor Phakaphong on Monday (July 1) ordered officials to make preparations for Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s visit to Phuket next Monday (July 8) to be “perfect”. (See story here.)

* The names of the father and son have been removed at the family's request.

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Christy Sweet | 11 July 2019 - 17:18:03

Why must it be framed authorities are remiss in hiring enough guards? The real travesty is how do they get away with promoting Phuket in monsoon season? What commodity is offered 
 in exchange for those lives- lost in a most terrifying manner. And who's buying it ?

Christy Sweet | 09 July 2019 - 22:51:33

The rescuer Amnad Chuasaman should have been recognized as a hero  by Mr Prayuth, instead of an absurd ode to ineptness the PM performed by way of a visit to the Chalong underpass disgrace. 

Christy Sweet | 09 July 2019 - 13:10:12

Remove all lifeguards that only provide an illusion of safety,  and erect signs saying beach closed due to dangerous conditions. I guarantee the drownings  will decline.  As with roads, the safer it appears, the more risks people will take. 

Christy Sweet | 09 July 2019 - 12:38:04

Those sic error notifications should be in brackets [ ], not parenthesis ( ).  And since when does the comment editor correct submissions, anyway? I've never seen it before- got an agenda, comment editor ?    { ; ) 

NOTE: The repeated uses of "(sic)" in the comment referred to were not added by the editor. That was how the comment was submitted - Ed

GerryT81 | 08 July 2019 - 20:44:46

Very insensitive from W..How can someone expect from tourists to use their own brain when it comes to swimming in red flagged zones or renting a bike without a license or experience or even drunk driving.It's always Thailand to blame  for not providing enough nanny's to look after those tourists.Btw,would looking "Baywatch"help him {W} too?

Timothy | 08 July 2019 - 07:57:40

Wiesel your comments are totally insensitive. Blame the drowning victims?? There are lifeguards on beaches all over the world. Why is that? There are even lifeguards at public swimming pools in most countries! Tourism brings in Billions for Thailand, yet they won't spend a little to keep those tourists safe. Then they complain that some poor victim didn't pay hospital bill. Pathetic!  

Rorri_2 | 07 July 2019 - 17:15:05

"and i(sic) suggest people use eyes, brain and reason(sic) because its (sic) real life and not just kindergarden(sic)," just what are you on about!

Wiesel | 07 July 2019 - 12:57:53

and i suggest people use eyes, brain and reason because its real life and not just kindergarden

Rorri_2 | 05 July 2019 - 10:58:43

Wiesel, I suggest you go look at Australian series "Bondi Rescue."

BenPendejo | 05 July 2019 - 08:53:06

Wrong Wiesel...there were no warning flags, and nobody there to tell anyone anything. There is an empty lifeguard shack, an empty tower, and no flags on the beach. Tourists here are often people that have never been to the ocean or the beach. This is a beach-oriented tourist destination, and to not provide lifeguards to look after their guests (and locals) is irresponsible and baffling.

Rorri_2 | 05 July 2019 - 08:01:23

Wiesel "The red flag identified in a photo sent to The Phuket News, however, is attached to a tent set up near the road, nowhere near the water’s edge, not even on the sand where swimmers might see it," I hold you in deep contempt, less than human.

BenPendejo | 04 July 2019 - 18:25:23

Pinot is correct. Ma-ann knew there were serious issues, but he also did NOTHING. This pathetic excuse of a public official has never looked after the best interest of his constituents, and should be noted that he is currently under investigation for corruption and failing to properly do his job. He really should have been gone long ago, but this should be the end all of his career. ENOUGH!

Wiesel | 04 July 2019 - 17:33:51

does it makes the waves smaller, the ripcurrent less strong and the danger less when lifguards are around?? Do this means red flags are not so red anymore?? Or do some Idiots think they can ignore everything because there is always some other idiot will safe their life?? Blame the people they get in this situation by ignore warnings.

Pinot | 04 July 2019 - 09:37:28

This is on the head of the Surin OrBorTor. He was directly responsible for leaving Surin Beach without a lifeguard or any equipment (board or floats) that might have saved this person. 3PM and no lifeguards on a popular and dangerous Phuket Beach. This is ridiculous!  

BenPendejo | 03 July 2019 - 21:32:12

At this point, this so-called "Governor" must be considered complicit in every drowning on this island. He has done absolutely nothing issue empty orders, but has not done anything to ensure that anything has been done.  He was told about the critical issue of Phuket's pathetic lifeguard situation, but has done NOTHING except lie to Chinese officials by telling them Chinese are safe ...

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