The body has been identified as Joshua Shane, a spokesperson for Phuket's lifeguards said on Thursday afternoon. Members of the Arizona group said all questions should be directed through public relations at the university in the US. The body was taken to Patong Hospital. The group is expected to return to the US as soon as practicable.
PHUKET: Representatives from an Arizona State University study tour group were on their way to Phuket's Patong beach this afternoon following reports that a body has been found there.
The body was found about 2.30pm not far from the point where American Joshua Shane, 21, went for a swim and disappeared soon after 10pm on Tuesday night.
The missing man was one of four students from the group who went for a swim, other students in the group said yesterday. One of the four was later treated in Patong Hospital.
The point on the Patong shore where the group went for a swim carries no warnings of the dangers of Phuket's seasonal monsoon currents. There is a sign saying ''Swimming Area.''
Tourists have drowned at the rate of about one a week since Mid-May, when the monsoon swept in, making most Phuket beaches dangerous in places.
The group from Arizona State University was on a month-long study tour providing advice on sustainability projects in Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Phuket.
The family of the young man, missing presumed drowned, issued a statement in the US saying: ''Joshua is a beautiful soul and was truly at his best while traveling and exploring.
''He was passionate about international social justice and global sustainability. He was here to make the world a better place. We would like to thank those involved including the people of Thailand and Arizona State University for their dedication and compassion during this difficult time.
''We will continue to be inspired by Joshua's life and appreciate the outpouring of support and prayer.'''
THERE HAVE been six deaths at Phuket's popular west coast holiday beaches since May 18, when a Frenchman drowned at Karon beach, south of Patong.
His death was followed by the drowning of a second Frenchman at Freedom Beach, between Patong and Karon, on May 20.
Phuket's lifeguards, absent from Phuket beaches for seven weeks because of a a contractual dispute, returned to beach patrols on May 27.
A Russian tourist drowned in the surf at Karon on May 30.
The following day, an American kite surfer died in the shallows at Nai Harn, Phuket's most southerly beach. His death may not have been a drowning but possibly a heart attack.
On June 2, a young Thai man drowned at Patong. Lifeguards managed to rescue his swimming companion.
On June 12, Joshua Shane goes missing at Patong. His body is found on June 14. Another swimmer who went into the water with Shane needed hospital treatment.
The deaths are mostly attrributable to ''rips,'' deadly currents that develop as the south west monsoon sweep across Phuket, changing currents.
Some rips are fixed and at beaches all year long, others move and are usually identified by lifeguards as red-flag no-swimming areas.
Many tourists enticed to Phuket from places without beach swimming cultures do not understand the dangers or the red-flag warnings and swim regardless, sometimes with fatal consequences.
The approach of Phuket resorts varies. The good ones warn their guests about the dangers. The bad ones let nature take its course.
A good test for anyone planning a trip to Phuket between May and November - the monsoon season - is to ask in advance about beach swimming safety and whether the resort warns its guests.
The figure of six beach deaths on Phuket between May 18 and June 12 contrasts with just five drownings recorded for the whole of Phuket - including deaths in ponds and canals as well as beaches - in the first four months of the year.
This year's Phuket monsoon storms have been particularly strong, triggering floods and pounding Phuket's beachfronts.
Two tourists from Phuket - one Eyptian man and a man from Kuwait - drowned on June 8 on a whitewater adventure trip north to the neighboring province of Phnag Nga when their inflatable raft capsized, dumping them into a raging river.