“We have posted red flags along the entire length of Surin Beach. They will remain there until we have real lifeguards on duty,” Mr MaAnn said.
“The red flags have been posted because I want to warn tourists to please not go into water at this time. I don’t want to use the words ‘beach closed’, but the red flags are a warning meaning that it is dangerous.
Mr MaAnn also cautioned that that only eight flags have been posted to cover the whole beach, and urged people to obey them.
“Do not go into the water,” Mr MaAnn said.
Mr MaAnn did understand there are many experienced surfers and other regular beachgoers at the popular beach, many of whom have already rescued tourists from dangerous surf.
To these people, he noted, “If you are an experienced surfer and confident of entering the water during this time, then please just take good care.”
At Patong Beach, where lifeguards have rendered assistance to 22 people already this month, Patong Surf Life Saving Chief Somprasong Sangchart confirmed that red flags have also been posted – but only in areas where it is too dangerous to swim.
Other parts of the beach remain open.
“Some parts of the beach will still be open to swimmers in this weekend. We will post red-yellow flags so tourists know where it is safe to go into the water.
“But the weather will change day to day, and throughout the day, so please be careful and pay attention to where the red-yellow flags are posted,” he said.
Patong Surf Life Saving issued a public notice yesterday calling for all people to beware the dangerous surf and to observe the red “No Swimming” flags.
“During this period there is heavy rain and strong winds due to storms coming from the southwest monsoon across the Andaman Sea. The weather at Patong Beach will be like this for many days, causing high waves and strong currents.
“We therefore remind all local residents and tourists coming to Patong Beach do not violate the red flags that show where it is dangerous to play in the sea.
“Instead, play in the areas marked with red-yellow flags only because that is where it is safe and has lifeguards on duty to look after you,” the announcement read.
Red flags have also been posted along some sections of Nai Harn Beach, Rawai Mayor Aroon Solos confirmed.
“Some parts of the beach are still open to swimmers, but if the weather becomes too dangerous for tourists, we will post red flags and close the beach to prevent tourists from entering the water,” he said.
The Phuket News was today unable to confirm that surf safety status for beaches in the Kata-Karon area as Karon Municipality Chief Administrative Officer (Palad) Rachen Phuntarakit, who is the official responsible for Karon, Kata and Kata Noi beaches was unavailable.
The posting of red flags comes while rescue teams continue to search for a Filipino tourist who disappeared in large waves at Freedom Beach on Wednesday.
Karon Police informed The Phuket News this afternoon that the body of one of the missing Filipino tourists had been found near Freedom Beach. The man was identified by a tattoo was all police would say that the time. (See story here.)
The news also follows a Thai man being washed from rocks while fishing a friend at the north end of Karon Beach yesterday morning.
His body was finally found and brought ashore at Karon Beach by Kusoldharm rescue workers at about 9:40pm Thursday night.
Capt Suriyong Buakerdpet of the Karon Police identified the man as Prawit Pipatchanachai, 38, originally from Nong Bua Lamphu province in Northeast Thailand.
Mr Prawit’s friend Waithin Pimsa, 26, also from Nong Bua Lam Phu, told police that he and Mr Prawit both work at a hotel in Patong.
The men were fishing on the rocks when Mr Prawit was washed into the sea by a large wave.
Mr Waithin raised the alarm and a search was launched, but Mr Prawit’s body was not found until last night.