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A woman rescuer on the vessel attempts to revive the man today

Drowning of Belgian Man off Koh Tao Adds to Alarm About Safety of Thailand's Tourists

Sunday, October 5, 2014
PHUKET: Fresh tragedy struck the holiday islands of Thailand today when a tourist from Belgium plunged to his death from a boat.

Police investigators are now trying to determine whether the man fell or was pushed and why he was not wearing a life jacket, as tourists are required by law to do.

The vessel, carrying about 30 passengers, was travelling to Koh Phangan from the smaller island of Koh Tao, where the vicious murder of British tourists Hannah Witheridge and David Miller has captured international attention since September 15.

Police from Phangan are investigating the circumstances of the manner in which the crew of the vessel, the Seatran Discovery, turned around and pulled the man from the sea. Life jackets are compulsory.

Colonel Prachoom Rungtong, Superintendent of Phangan Police Station, said that the man, aged 26, was spotted leaning over the rear of the vessel, photographing the propeller, before he fell.

''It's unclear whether his mental state has any bearing on what happened,'' the colonel said. ''We will be asking the captain why there was no safety vest and why he wasn't pulled alive from the sea.''

The investigation into the Belgian man's death comes amid growing concern about the safety and security of tourists in Thailand, following the murders on Koh Tao.

A suggestion that tourists wear wristbands, made recently by the Tourism and Sports minister, probably would not have helped. A life vest, however, might have saved his life.

Phuketwan has been given the man's name but will not identify him until we can be sure his family has been notified.

His body was taken to Koh Phangan Hospital.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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'as tourists are required by law to do'. That might be the funniest thing I've ever read. Laws don't mean much 'round here. Just go down to not-for-private-profit Patong Beach and count the jet skis and parachutes if a reminder of that is needed. Or the people on motor bikes not wearing helmets. Or the number of illegal three-wheelers careening about the streets. An almost endless list of laws being ignored could be written.'Required'...puhlease.

Posted by Day on October 5, 2014 17:17

Editor Comment:

Perhaps you don't get it, Day. Tourist safety is top of the list right now. Unlike some other laws, those relating to safety and security should be enforced. There are important points to be made to tourists thinking about coming to Thailand and to authorities thinking about protecting them properly. Cynicism and sweeping generalisations just waste time.

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Ed, I have been to Phang Nga Bay fouir times with family members and friends. There is always to little lifewests onboard and no one is using it under the trip to the national park. Why do not the crew onboard see to it that every turist is wering this old even maybe not even good wests?

Posted by Retired Roadworker on October 5, 2014 18:34

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With October and the beginning of high season - the worst of the rip-tide season is over apparently. God only knows how worse it would be otherwise.

Perhaps a 'critical' mass of drownings this season will prompt a final push towards proactive safety change - right now 'reactive' tragically seems to be the order of the day.

Tourists AND Thailand require systemic change - a paradigm cultural shift - in terms of how safety is perceived and acted on - to lessen fatalities of Thais and tourists alike.

Posted by farang888 on October 5, 2014 23:06

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The Editor of Phuketwan is an idiot making comments like this. After reading the recent Phuketwan a*** kissing posts of recent days as you piss in the pockets of the military to try and save yor ***, I can find a better read in my toilet. Life jackets? What's your solution for Syria?

Posted by Mark Rotherham on October 6, 2014 08:22

Editor Comment:

My my, your first post, Mark, and full of such rigorous debate that you can only have learned your skills while bullying other children in primary school and having them help you to pass every test. By high school, though, all of them had no doubt left you in their wake.

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Not wearing life vests, not wearing crash helmets, you cannot make people wear them, anything happens its their own fault, no one elses.

Posted by Peter Allen on October 6, 2014 08:32

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@ Mark Rotherham

Welcome to Phuketwan, Mark.

Posted by phonus on October 6, 2014 09:38

Editor Comment:

Yes, a great boost to the powers of intellectual persuasion among the current dingbats.

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It is impossible to save someone from themself. If he fell, or jumped, it is a very sad thing for his Family and for Thailand, but these things happen, and it is only his own fault if he fell, and if he did not wear a life vest, which are provided, but nearly never used.

Posted by Anonymous on October 6, 2014 09:50

Editor Comment:

It will be interesting to see whether life vests were provided to the Indian couple, anonymous. I think you will find there are times when life vests are overlooked.

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Maybe many tourist need a nanny or mum when travel, when 26 years old you are not a baby anymore,,,,,, or maybe?

Posted by mr .logic on October 8, 2014 15:36


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