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The body of the German tourist is carried from Patong beach

European Tourist Drowns at Phuket's Patong Beach: Jet-Ski Rider Finds Body

Sunday, November 17, 2013
PHUKET: A German tourist drowned at Patong beach today, latest addition to the large toll on Phuket's beaches so far this year.

The man, aged 76, was found dead in the sea some distance from the shore by a jet-ski rider. The rider brought his body back to the beach about 1.30pm.

The tragedy occurred opposite the Royal Palm Beach Front resort. Patong beach was crowded today.

The man's death in the water off Phuket's holiday west coast follows the drowning on Thursday of Norwegian Chris Roger Hanssen, 55, at Karon beach, the next major beach south of Patong.

At least 30 drownings have occurred along Phuket's popular beaches or at day-trip destinations so far this year. The death toll is the largest in memory.

Authorities ceased releasing statistical updates on the number of drownings on Phuket in April last year and no official figures have been released since then.

Many holidaymakers on Phuket fail to swim between the yellow and red flags where lifeguards are on patrol.

Patong, Karon and several other Phuket beaches are too long for the limited number of lifeguards to do more than protect the tourists who take their advice.

A marine safety summit for Phuket was proposed four months ago by British envoys but no date has been set.

Phuketwan has been given the German man's name but will not publish it until we are advised that his relatives have been notified.

His body was taken to Patong Hospital.

Drownings of tourists on Phuket are likely to be among the topics discussed when Phuket's honorary consuls meet with Governor Maitree Intrusud on November 26.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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I suspect the decision not to release drowning (or traffic) related death figures can be attributed to a characteristic of Thai culture.

" If you don't talk about the problem, there is no problem "

Even if it kills people.

If people knew the real number of drownings, there's a high chance they'd also take the warnings a lot more seriously than they do now.

This is one example where financial considerations clearly outweigh the concern for tourist safety.

I'd love to hear an official response to that question.

Posted by ThaiMike on November 17, 2013 20:40

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Although, the reported cause of death is drowning, until an autopsy is undertaken, one doesn't know if the deceased had a pre-existing condition such as heart disease that caused the drowning. For example, if the man had a heart attack or a stroke while in the water, he would have drowned. In some of the other deaths, alcohol had a role, i.e. the deceaseds were inebriated. Unfortunately, until the local authorities are more transparent and release reliable information, the results will always give a negative image of events. This is a characteristic of death and injuries on Phuket, the authorities do not provide reliable information or follow up. At the very least, the large number of drownings require a comprehensive medical examiner (i.e. coroner type)review that would identify the characteristics and factors in the deaths. Until then, observers are left with only negative impressions, because the information available is limited. The local strategy of staying quiet does not work.

Posted by Ryan on November 17, 2013 22:16

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I'd also be interested to know where the majority of these people are from. With this obvious exception the majority appear the be eastern European and Chinese. That may just be my perseption though. It may help in targeting awareness amongst tourists.

Posted by pozz59 on November 18, 2013 09:36

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I learned many years ago that the passive observer of life learns more from watching and viewing than from needing to be heard. Refrain from compulsively intruding into other people's lives out of a need to voice your opinion. We rarely understand all the circumstances in other peoples' lives...so it's best not to interfere.

Posted by Robin S on November 18, 2013 11:48

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@pozz59 That is because the balance of tourism has swung in Phuket - Chinese & East European are now in the majority big time. Many of these have never seen the sea before & don't know how to swim.

Posted by Logic on November 18, 2013 13:06

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The new 500 baht per person, "welcome to Thailand" tax would surely cover the cost of extra lifeguards. Condolences to the family.

Posted by Steve L. on November 18, 2013 13:47


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