“We have not charged the companies involved. We will not charge them, because they had a permit and followed the law,” Maj Ekkachai Siri of the Phuket Tourist Police told The Phuket News today (July 26).
The girl, Song Jinghan, on holiday with her family from Shandong Province in China, was pulled from the water unconscious and rushed to Phuket Provincial Hospital on Sunday. She was transferred to Bangkok Hospital, where she later died. (See story here.)
Ratchadaporn Oin, Acting Director of Ministry of Tourism and Sports (MOTS) Phuket office, also confirmed to The Phuket News today that her office will not be taking any action in the hope of making snorkelling tours, which have gained a notorious reputation for being deadly for Chinese tourists in particular, any safer.
“Following the MOTS and embassy protocol, all tourists already must sign a document agreeing how to conduct themselves, and understanding the dangers when participating in these activities,” Ms Ratchadaporn said.
In the case of Miss Song, we cannot confirm whether it (the child’s drowning death) was due to her own recklessness, or the equipment, or if she had an unknown disease, we can’t confirm these details,” she added.
“According to the hospital, she died of drowning, of respiratory failure. But the exact reason why it happened, we can’t confirm. We do not know exactly what happened to her,” Ms Ratchadaporn repeated.
Ms Ratchadaporn noted that there are changes planned toward increasing swimming safety in general at Phuket’s beaches.
“We do however have a number of plans to increase safety in the water. We plan to install CCTV around beaches, extend lifeguard patrols until 6:30pm, and start having patrol police on the beaches,” she added.
The Chinese consulate in Phuket has confirmed to The Phuket News' Chinese-language sister newspaper Puji Dao Xinwen that 41 Chinese tourists had died in Southern Thailand from January 1 through to last Wednesday (July 19).
Of those deaths, 31 were from drowning, but those statistics did not include the death of young Miss Song.