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Phuket expat rescues boy, 7, as storm surf prompts call to close beaches

Phuket expat rescues boy, 7, as storm surf prompts call to close beaches

PHUKET: An expat teacher at a Phuket school rescued a 7-year-old boy from surf at Nai Harn Beach on Monday (Aug 6), while the International Surf Lifesaving Association (ISLA) issued a notice today (Aug 8) recommending that Phuket’s exposed west coast beaches be closed to swimmers until current dangerous conditions subside.

By The Phuket News

Wednesday 8 August 2018, 10:38AM

Dangerous surf at Surin Beach. Photo: ISLA

Dangerous surf at Surin Beach. Photo: ISLA

The following warnings are in effect:

  • High Surf
  • Dangerous Shorebreak
  • Severe Rip Currents
  • High Winds
  • Sudden Squalls
  • Rapid Beach Erosion

“A warning means these conditions are imminent or are already occurring,” the statement read.

“Short-period waves of two-to-three metres are battering Phuket's exposed beaches. Sudden squalls can produce dangerous winds and surf height can increase quickly.

“Sets of large waves are powerful enough to overwhelm bathers and sweep them off their feet directly into powerful, outgoing, rip currents, who can be swept out to sea,” the statement noted.

Beaches currently experiencing these severe conditions include: Nai Harn, Kata Noi, Kata, Karon, Surin, Bang Tao, Layan, Nai Thon, Nai Yang and Mai Khao.

The recommendation to close the beaches to swimmers follows the Thai Meteorological Department (TMD) this morning issuing its 16th consecutive ‘Strong Wind Wave in South and Heavy Rain in upper Thailand’ weather warning.

“During 8-9 August, the monsoon trough will lie across the upper North and the upper Northeast to the active low pressure over the South China Sea while the strong southwest monsoon prevails across the Andaman Sea, Thailand and the Gulf of Thailand.

“Outbreaks of more rain, as well as isolated heavy downpour, will be expected over the country. People should beware of severe condition,” the warning noted.

Strong wind and waves are forecast (to reach) two to three meters high in the Andaman Sea, about two meters high in the upper Gulf and above three meters high in thundershower areas.

“All ships should proceed with caution, and small boats keep ashore. People along the coast of the western South and the East should beware strong winds,” the warning said.

The warning also follows a 7-year-old boy being pulled from the water unconscious at Nai Harn Beach on Monday (Aug 6).

An expat woman who teaches at a school in Phuket saw the boy floating among the waves and dived in to rescue him.

“He was blue and white when he was dragged out of the water,” the woman told The Phuket News.

Thai Residential

“I gave him CPR and a Thai woman helped me… and this continued for four minutes as the lifeguards stood and watched over us and then brought oxygen tank when he wasn’t even taking air yet…

“It’s like they didn’t know what to do,” she added.

“I’m just so concerned for the safety of people and if I weren’t there I would hate to think that the boy wouldn’t have survived.

“About two minutes after the boy’s pulse was back another lifeguard came running and took him near the road where the ambulance came and took him,” she added.

Lifeguards at Nai Harn confirmed the rescue took place at about 4pm, but were scant on other details.

Lifeguards told The Phuket News that the boy was 7 years old and “from China”, but that he had a Thai mother.

The Phuket News has yet to confirm which hospital the boy was taken to and whether or not he has made a full recovery.

However, one lifeguard did urge, “I would like to tell parents to take care of their children when playing in the water, especially near the lagoon because there are no lifeguards there, and drowning incidents always happens there.”

Rescuing young children at Nai Harn Beach at this time of year is becoming a sad annual tradition. A 7-year-old boy was revived at the beach on Aug 14 last year, also at about 4pm.

The boy was unconscious and unresponsive when he was pulled from the lagoon area at the southern end of the beach, prompting lifeguards to perform CPR until the boy’s pulse returned and he began breathing unassisted, though still unconscious. The boy was rushed to Vachira Phuket Hospital in Phuket Town. (See story here.)

The boy, Kietmondej Traiyuang, was unable to recover from extensive brain damage and died about one week after the incident, Phuket Lifeguard Service President Prathaiyut Chuayuan later confirmed. (See story here.)

Just last Monday (July 30), 11-year-old Phuket student Supat ‘Petch’ Jampathong died after being pulled away from the beach in a strong rip current at Nai Yang while he was playnig in knee-deep water with friends.

His body was recovered two days later when waves pushed it back close to shore further north along the beach. (See story here.)

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BenPendejo | 10 August 2018 - 09:46:05

I hope these messages are getting to the Chinese public, so they can see that all the claims by Thai officials about "looking out for the safety of tourists" are nothing but lies and lip service. There are still no lifeguards at most beaches, and the lifeguards that are there are worthless. Thai officials have done nothing to improve safety...NOTHING. This is a dangerous place.

DeKaaskopp | 09 August 2018 - 22:58:24

"Tongue in cheek comment" Thanks goes to K's personal secretary for clarifying it.

Christy Sweet | 09 August 2018 - 20:40:58

So what's the drowning tally so far this summer? Are we counting the boat incidents or just swimmers? 

Jor12 | 09 August 2018 - 17:53:26

Certainly it is not a "tongue in cheek" comment, but a defamatory remark aimed at a public figure, which should rightly be brought to his attention.  However, given the level of intelligence by some it is plain to see why such anomalies exist.

Rorri_2 | 09 August 2018 - 17:10:43

Dek, I think most of us understood Kurt's "tongue in cheek" comment... why you didn't fails me.

DeKaaskopp | 09 August 2018 - 14:53:00

"Initiate a thank you merit doing ceremony" Could the commentor please decide for once what he wants,as he said in other comments that the governor is to busy with ceremonies or clean ups and therefore forgets to tackle real problems!

Kurt | 09 August 2018 - 11:26:55

Lately, quite a number of young thai people are 'life saved' by expats/ foreign tourists, where local thai professionals failed.
Several times on Phuket as well.
Guess it is time the Phuket Governor initiate a 'thank you' merit doing ceremony for these foreigners who saved young thai life on Phuket island.

Kurt | 08 August 2018 - 15:06:14

Where are the professional trained beach lifeguards of the Phuket Governor? It's about time the Phuket Governor should explains himself in this matter.

CaptainJack69 | 08 August 2018 - 12:57:48

Well it's no secret that Phukets 'life-guards' are currently useless and that that needs to be remedied, but it's worth pointing out that experienced life-guards would also bring oxygen as even a non-breathing victim can be aspirated with the right kind of mask.


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