Jane Neame, 37, entered the surf opposite Karon Police Station at about 8:30am, said Karon chief lifeguard Uten Singsom.
“It was morning, so there weren’t many tourists on the beach,” he said. “My colleague saw her calling for help in the water, which was only chest-deep.”
Lifeguards quickly brought her back to shore, where they discovered what seemed to be bite injuries on her left foot.
“I never seen this kind of injury in entire life,” Mr Uten said.
Ms Neame was was taken Bangkok Hospital Phuket, in Phuket Town, for treatment, while experts set to work trying to figure out
Meanwhile, marine biologists set to work to identify her attacker.
Dr Kongkiat Kittiwatthanawong, Chief of the Marine Endangered Species Unit at the Phuket Marine Biology Centre (PMBC), told The Phuket News, “I could not confirm what it is. My colleague is checking.”
Shark expert Tessapon Krajangdara, a specialist at the Phuket Coastal Fisheries Research and Development Centre, said it was very unlikely the culprit was a shark.
“It is very rare for tourist to be bitten like this, and I have not been able to confirm precisely which kind of fish bit [Ms Neame’s] foot.
“It is possible that a small hammerhead shark bit her, as they feed in the early morning, but that would be very unusual, and a shark would normally bite a person on the leg [not the foot],’ he said.
“Also, the water where she was swimming is quite deep, but Phuket’s beaches are not known for attracting sharks. I can’t confirm what it is. I have to look at the wound closely in order to tell what kind of sea animal might have done this.”