Supat Tiangnoi, head of Patong Baywatch*, told The Phuket News this morning (Mar 4) that the incident happened while he and other Baywatch members were patrolling Patong Beach by ATV at about 4am.
Mr Supat said he saw a group of about nine Chinese tourists drinking alcohol together on the beach in front of Loma Park.
“The tourists were drunk, and I warned them that they should not play in the sea. I advised them that if they wanted to go into the water that they must not go any deeper than knee-level,” Mr Supat explained.
Mr Supat added that after warning the group, he moved on to patrol other areas of the beach.
At about 4:20am, some of the tourists came running up to him, calling for assistance, he said.
“They said that four Chinese male friends had gone into the sea, and that some of them had came back, but one man had disappeared,” Mr Supat said.
The missing man was later identified as Lu Meng Yang.
“We rushed into the water and found Mr Lu after about 15 minutes. He was face down in water about 200 meters from the beach,” Mr Supat said.
Mr Lu was brought ashore and emergency first aid was provided until rescue workers arrived and rushed him to Patong Hospital, but he was pronounced dead on arrival, Mr Supat explained.
Lt Chanat Hongsitthichaikul of the Patong Police told The Phuket News this morning that the cause of death had been confirmed as drowning.
"Chinese consular officials have been notified of the incident,” he said.
“Mr Lu’s body remains at Patong Hospital awaiting his relatives to arrive from China,” he added.
* The Patong Baywatch team is a group of seven people, including former lifeguards, who patrol Patong Beach for safety. The team was created and remains funded by the Patong Development Foundation, which was founded by local businessman Preechavude ‘Prab’ Keesin, a son of long-time former Patong Mayor Pian Keesin.