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The rescued man is unloaded from the helicopter on Phuket today

Phuket Airlift Chopper Rescues Tourist from Racha

Monday, October 29, 2012
PHUKET: A Chinese tourist was airlifted by helicopter from Racha island to Phuket this afternoon after suffering potentially serious heart palpitations on a snorkelling day trip.

The man, Liqi Feng, 39, and his wife He Min Ling, were carried by Royal Thai Navy helicopter from the island off Phuket to Phuket City about 2.30pm.

Liqi Feng was then taken about a kilometre by ambulance to Vachira Phuket Hospital, where he was being treated.

A friend - one of the members of a group of 12 - said they had been holidaying on Phuket since October 27.

''He [Liqi Feng] fell ill on the day trip outing so we went to a big hotel on the island and they called in the Navy.

''We are very relieved that it was all handled so fast and so efficiently.''

The group are staying at a resort in Patong. They are scheduled to go to Phi Phi tomorrow, then head back to Bangkok on October 31.

On November 2, they fly home to Guangjo in China.

The landing pad on Racha - part of a plan to have emergency landing pads on all islands to improve tourism safety - was opened earlier this year by former Governor Tri Augkaradacha.

The next day, a Chinese woman was airlifted to Phuket in a coma after having been found floating face-down in the water. She recovered.

Comments

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Having medivac services at a destination littered with islands for tourists to visit is part of the international standards Phuket aspires to adhere to.

Job well done.

Viable emergency services will add to tourist confidence and security.

I wonder who picks up the bill for such evacuation flights though. Does PW have any details on that ?

Posted by Andrew on October 29, 2012 15:37

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@Andrew, someone's life may have been saved, or suffered less, AND you worry about who picks up the bill, get a life. Maybe one day you may need these services, then you can inform us all, but until then it really is none of you business, but I would suggest you have health insurance and it covers medivac costs.

Posted by dbate_me on October 29, 2012 16:01

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I would imagine the cost of emergency services would be everyone's business.

Perhaps it was provided for free, perhaps not. Either way it would be good to know if I or someone dear to me ever needs such a service.

How you construe my question to be offensive is beyond me.

Posted by Andrew on October 29, 2012 17:33

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Have to Agree with Andrew there

dbate_me has probably never been to America

But Kudos to the services this helipad provide will greatly assist tourists and fishermen alike

Posted by michael on October 29, 2012 18:17

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Excellent question Andrew. In a society where healthcare is a priviledge this is vital information. I suspect it may have been the tour company insurance, but pure speculation. I'm sure Andrew, as I, is very pleased he was rescued.

Posted by James on October 29, 2012 18:34

Editor Comment:

Could it be that people are rescued off Phuket because they need help? There's a novel idea . . . especially to those who believe money is god.

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Money is not God, though one could be excused for coming to the conlcusion it is when living in Thailand.

My point was simply that though there undoubtedly is a genuine will to help and rescue people, more or less the world over, flying helicopters is not cheap.

The pure operational costs per hour for a Sikorsky S76-B, which this seems to be, are already around USD 800. Not including crew salaries and base costs.

Add to that the cost of a new one being around USD 20 million and the depreciation in value.

Ambulance flights can cost in the tens of thousands of USD and someone needs to cover the costs.

It would be awesome if the local government or navy provided such service for free but that is neither realistic nor sustainable.

Most Medevac helicopter services I know are private but funded by donations and sometimes by government subsidies.

Ambulance flights are, as far as I know, virtually always privately funded.

During the Andaman Tsunami my government leased and converted a passenger airplane and flew badly injured citizens back home from Thailand at no cost to patients (11 hrs O/W) but other than such natural disasters, it's either the patient/next of kin or insurance company that has to pay.

I was neither questioning the will to help nor debating the willingness to pay for such services.

Merely wanted to know how much, if anything, they charged.

I'm grateful they offer such a service.

Posted by Andrew on October 29, 2012 20:27

Editor Comment:

Rich governments probably have the option to rescue their citizens in the way you describe. Most countries during the tsunami contributed to a common cause and helped the needy, regardless of where they came from. By the way, if you think that ''Money is not God, though one could be excused for coming to the conclusion it is when living in Thailand,'' it may have a lot to do with your lifestyle. When you find out about the money side of rescues, please report back.

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Hi, I would also like to know who coughs up for the rescue flight / medivac? Not everybody comes here with health insurance, so it is a very valid question that Andrew posses? Answers welcome please?

Posted by Robin on October 29, 2012 20:27

Editor Comment:

When Phuketwan is financially supported by readers, we'll take the money and chase the questions that you want answered. Until then . . . please let us know what you find out.

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Hey ED, what happened to the 20 Baht I sent you to chase up answers? Is it all used up, I can send you another 20 if you like? He he he.

Posted by Robin on October 29, 2012 21:07

Editor Comment:

Oh, we've almost spent all that.

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@ Ed

I would not mind making a donation supporting PW and I'm sure many others would follow. I do value and hold your reporting in high regard. It has, is and hopefully continues to make a difference.

That said, there is also no need to turn each and every comment into negatives, unless of course you wish to alienate everyone who has anything worthwhile to say.

A lot of people whos comments I was looking forward to have already given up on PW and that is unfortunate.

Instead why not try to find something positive to say to your readers every now and then.

I'm just as happy as you are to see reader numbers of PW going up because I think it is important for people to know what PW reports on and about Phuket.

It does however not vindicate your abrasive style of direct communication with your readers.

Why not put up a poll and ask how people value the reporting on PW and then the responses of the editor in the comments section.

Mine was not a "rich/poor government" debate and just because my government (like many others) sent a plane to fly our injured citizens back home does not mean they did not contribute to the common good and aid everyone regardless of nationality.

I also tried to make it clear that it would be unreasonable to expect the Thai government to shoulder such costs. Perhaps I did a poor job in coveying that POW.

My lifestyle has nothing to do with why people with excessive wealth are treated according to different standards in Thailand. We can read about such cases on almost daily basis.

All I wanted to know was if you perhaps knew how much they charged for the service and it seems quite a few others were curious too.

I don't understand why you take offense to such a question.

Posted by Andrew on October 29, 2012 21:54

Editor Comment:

I am never offended, Andrew, just bothered occasionally by misinterpretations and misperceptions. We are not a help desk. We are not going to poll readers. I am not going to survey Phuketwan's staff, which was your last odd request. Yes, I am abrupt at times, largely because I have better things to do. Yes, I will continue to respond to comments that are in error or deliberately distort the reality of the situation. Best remember that our articles are based on the real world. Your comments, on the other hand, are anonymous and in the Internet ether. The two are quite separate. I do not plan to confuse them. You shouldn't either.

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The Navy helicopter has been stationed at PIA for years now without much use. Great to see them being utilized more. We looked into using them to evac patients to the hyperbaric chamber. It's not free. They need to be sure they are getting paid before they will fly. I don't recall the cost.

Posted by NomadJoe on October 29, 2012 23:08

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@Andrew and a few others, I stand by my statement "it really is none of you business," it is the "private" business of the patient and the Navy not yours. Why do you feel you need to know?

Posted by dbate_me on October 30, 2012 08:22


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