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Phuket's Karon beach out of season: dangerous in the water:

Englishman Drowns at Karon, 'Girlfriend Expecting'

Sunday, June 7, 2009
Phuketwan Updating Report

AN Englishman drowned at Karon beach on Saturday, the third drowning on Phuket within days.

Unconfirmed reports to Phuketwan say that a 12-year-old Thai girl has also drowned this weekend at another popular Phuket beach, Surin.

The Englishman has been named as James Patton, 21.

His girlfriend, Bethan Jones, who is believed to be several months pregnant, was flying home to Britain today via Bangkok.

The couple were both scheduled to leave today after completing their holiday. The body of Mr Patton is now expected to be flown home next week.

Phuketwan has been told several people got into trouble in the water at Karon with Mr Patton but the others, including an Englishman who attempted a rescue, escaped with their lives.

''I was absolutely exhausted,'' the would-be rescuer later told friends.

A 43-year-old Frenchman and his 31-year-old Thai female companion were reported to have drowned at Karon beach on Friday in similar circumstances.

Days earlier, an Australian family narrowly escaped death at the same beach.

Reports of people narrowly avoiding drowning on Phuket are an almost daily occurrence at this time of the year.

While red flags are supposed to deter people from swimming on days when conditions are unsafe, there are beaches where the red flags are left flying for the entire monsoon season.

Warning signs are at some beaches, but seldom in highly visible positions.

One reliable source said today: ''An Indian woman who couldn't swim went straight into the water at Nai Harn yesterday and had to be rescued.

''There is what amounts to a permanent rip (an unsafe, unseen undertow) at that beach.''

The spate of drownings and near-fatalities is bound to put pressure of local administrations. Improved safety in the water has been promised for tourists and residents alike.

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Comments

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1. Many people do not know what a red flag means. How would someone who is landlocked have any clue?

2. Last week on Kata Beach I could only see 1 red flag "out". I did happen to see 3 very nice flags together by the beach chair vender's tent. Donated from Singha beer, a red one, a green one and a yellow one.. all with the Singha beer logo.

Posted by Vfaye on June 9, 2009 23:50

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I agree with Vtayes' comment about the red flags; tourists from Switzerland, Kosovo and Nepal could have a real hard time understanding what they mean because these countries are landlocked countries and there are hundreds more just like them. And what about tourists who are color-blind or worse still blind?? What chance do they have? None!! We have to do something so come on guys lets organize something!

Posted by Bill Owen on June 15, 2009 17:54

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No worries, short of putting up long lines of do not cross, banner tape, folks will still swim.

Its not the sea thats dangerous, its the swimmers inabillity to stay afloat. Yesterday at Nai Yang beach, storm conditions prevailed, the kite surfers had a wonderful time out there and there were swimmers, yes, swimmers in the pounding surf.

If you want to ride the tiger, best be prepared for that ride.
Flags or no flags, people will still swim, even against their or anyone elses better judgement.

Posted by Graham on June 16, 2009 07:47

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The Sumer Season rebranding is leading tourists to believe they can come to Phuket and enjoy Sumer time activities, like swimming in the surf.
They see others do it, so think it's safe. Surin beach has but one sign, facing the parking lot and it is easily hidden behind any truck that happens to park in front of it and the dolphin sculpture, I had to look for it and no warnings at all on the south end of the beach.
A 12 yo girl drowned just last week, 4 in one week. No Excuse Phuket !

Posted by MediaWatch2009 on June 16, 2009 10:56

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Karon Beach has now posted large, clear warning signs to advise the public that swimming is unsafe and what three flags mean; yellow flag, red flag and the yellow and red flag.

This is a great start and can serve as an example to other Tambons.

Next, the community must ask for training and equipment to be available and we are halfway there. Congratulations Karon!

Posted by Jayne on June 17, 2009 09:15


Wednesday October 27, 2021
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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