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The boy who drowned at Nai Harn is wheeled in dead at Phuket City.

Phuket Beach Holiday Tragedy: Young Boy Drowns

Friday, January 1, 2010
Hospital Photo Album Above

WE PUBLISH these photographs, of a boy being wheeled into Vachira Hospital about 4.30pm today, knowing they will shock. The boy, Phuketwan. regrets to say, is already dead.

As Phuket enjoyed a holiday that marked the first day of a new year, of a new decade, full of sunshine and hope, this young boy drowned at Nai Harn beach.

In the ambulance with the boy on the too-late journey from the southern holiday beach to the Phuket City hospital were two women.

One, we believe, was his mother. Both were shedding tears that made this reporter want to weep along with them.

For Nai Harn is, like all of Phuket's popular beaches, unprotected by lifeguards. It has been for many weeks now, weeks when Phuket residents and tourists have been enjoying a swim in the high-season sunshine.

There is a dispute about money and tenders. The authorities continue to debate how the problem will be solved.

Meanwhile, on a trolley in Vachira Hospital, a boy lies dead. The weeping will continue.

Phuketwan weeps for the boy, and for Phuket.
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Comments

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Dear Alan,

Although I do fully support the protection of life-guards at each and every beach in Phuket and appreciate Phuketwan's vision and opinion on this serious matter, I feel that several of the photos 'showcased' on your webpage are very disturbing: not just only for the relatives of the young boy. And hope you don't mind me saying that the phrase ..."One, we BELIEVE, was his mother. Both were shedding tears that made this reporter want to weep along with them."... is a pathetic way to fill up a webpage. I have, and still do, always trusted Phuketwan for it's journalistic quality; to just assume that 'a lady' is believed to be the young boy's mother... this is way below your par...

Michel

Posted by Michel on January 1, 2010 19:16

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What a sad start into the year. My first tears for that boy who could be mine. Make the foto a poster and bring it to the PM's vacation hotel. Write down the number of all victims in 2009 and this as no.1 in 2010. Write down "NO LIFEGUARDS IN PHUKET. WHAT A SHAME. WHAT A SHAME!"

What we all feared happened (again). May the little boy rest in peace, may the gods have mercy with his mother and family. Everyone responsible for the no-lifeguard policy in Phuket should pay tribute to him and his family (will not happen, I know).

Posted by Lena on January 1, 2010 19:52

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Dear Sir/Madam
Although i admire this website, please do remove those pictures of this poor little death boy and relatives. Please give the death some dignity and the relatives some privacy.

Thank you
Klaus R. Rauter

Posted by Klaus R. Rauter on January 1, 2010 20:11

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Unnecessary to show the photos, rather ghoulish, in fact. Did you follow the ambulance from Nai Harn Beach? Weep all you want.

Posted by Laurence Welland on January 1, 2010 20:22

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Good on you, maybe it will open the eyes of some people here that don't do anything to get the lifeguards back.

Posted by No Name on January 1, 2010 21:59

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Business of the Year? You won't be in 2010 if you continue reporting news "Thai" style with explicit undignified photos.

Posted by Ivan on January 1, 2010 22:57

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I was actually at Nai Harn beach and when I heard about it, being a trained life guard, I swam out to look. There was a crowd of mainly 100 Thais and no one looking in the water for him, the only people out there were tourists and local expats, by the time he was found (By a Farang) it was already to late, there were a few Rawai rescue service people on the beach swanning about with their radios and he was found less than 20 metres from shore. Having no lifeguards is a disgrace. I was there with my ten yr old and his ten year old friend, who have swam on Nai Harn all their lives
It was disorganised chaos. I feel sorry for the parents.

PS I don't think the pictures are ghoulish but i do think that all the people taking pictures (non journalists) as the boys body was being brought up were, and that was both Thais and expats.

Posted by Michael on January 1, 2010 23:13

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Thai media has no dignity at all showing these pictures. Journalists are like vultures. Shame on them.

Posted by Robert on January 2, 2010 03:11

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You should not show these kinds of photos.....If you try to get more readers with this kind of article, I do not think it's the good way.

Posted by Chris on January 2, 2010 09:45

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Shame, shame on you. You have always been a sensationalist site, twisting headlines, bending facts and spouting opinion, but this today is too too low. The boy is dead but his mother is not. You need to learn basic journalistic ethics.

Posted by Gerald Hartung on January 2, 2010 10:06

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Phuketwan is weeping? How about the family of the boy? What a sick start to 2010. Ambulance chasers taking the photos was bad enough but to show them on a website is one of the lowest things I have ever seen. Shame on you.

Posted by Georges Delacroix on January 2, 2010 10:21

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Please remove the photos immediately or we will report you to the Ministry of Culture and the Thai Tourist Association. And stop "weeping". What a cheap ploy for attention!

Posted by David Wilkes on January 2, 2010 10:29

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You 'think' it was his mother? You don't KNOW? Don't care? Who is your editor and why do they let you publish photos and speculation like this? Do you have children?

Posted by Brin on January 2, 2010 11:04

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What a strange bunch of shallow responses. So the journalist is supposed to invade the privacy of the grieving women and ask, 'Excuse me, is one of you his mourning mother?' Where the easily offended see sensationalism, I see courageous journalism. Phuket's real needs (in this case for lifesavers on the beaches tomorrow) will only be answered by journalists who are not afraid to confront authorities - and readers - with the plain truth, in words and pictures.

Posted by Angelfire on January 2, 2010 11:25

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My condolence to the family .

To the authorities of the TAT; watch Bondi rescue at NatGeo Adventures. Here you can see what it takes to run a proper life guard system .

They can also see how a good system can be used as a sales argument for Phuket promotion. It a win / win situation for everybody.

Posted by Ham on January 2, 2010 12:43

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Good on you for showing the pictures. If it makes people think, so much the better.

Some people want real life sanitized and want to turn their faces away from this avoidable tragedy.

Maybe by publishing these pictures an otherwise obscure death will be given some meaning if it can either get the life-guard situation moving, or fosters more wariness about kids swimming in the sea.

Posted by Sir Burr on January 2, 2010 14:37

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It is very interesting to see the emotions in the comment page. I believe phuketwan is trying very clearly to highlight that not having life guards on stand by is a disgrace for an island depending on tourism.

All who read phuketwan can see reports following on the missing life guards since weeks and that phuketwan tries to make a point that it is not acceptable not having life guards because of a procedural disagreement between organisations and this shows the outcome of this sad state of affairs.

Posted by wm on January 2, 2010 14:53

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Alan, this is just sick. Show some decency, give the family some dignity, and take down these pictures.

Posted by Jay on January 2, 2010 15:10

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Sad but true. Only thanks to this pictures you will think a little longer about this maybe unnecessary accident. And hopefully this pictures show the world something only stats or words cannot deliver:

The situation on the beaches is just plain crazy and dangerous. For all visiting families as for the living and working families. As a international tourist resort island Phuket depends much more on safe beaches then cheap transport.

You shoot the messenger who take down the potemkin facade of Phuket as a happy holiday spot and show the truth:

Five years after the tsunami kids are every day in danger of drowning in Phuket and they do. They die because of gross negligence of the host. Of the Thai authorities and also the tourist industry.

I am happy for the other little boy, who was rescued by the brave private helpers.

Posted by Lena on January 2, 2010 17:23

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You have to remember some thing here,,,This is Thailand and in Thailand especially Thai language newspapers they show very graphic pictures also horrific videos of the aftermath of crashes from their website, its what they do, you have to accept it.

condolences to the family

Posted by Nick on January 2, 2010 17:33

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Sir Burr!

A silly comment! How would you feel and think if there would be your kid displayed?

Others:
The moderator/owner of the side is simply arrogant as well and i will boycott this site as he refused to give death people dignity and privacy and respect to the relatives.

Klaus R. Rauter

Posted by Klaus R. Rauter on January 2, 2010 18:29

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@Klaus, If the boy had been alive at the time of the photograph, and died 30 seconds later inside the hospital, you would have no argument.

And that's the problem . . . he should still be alive. This was a needless death, a shameful death, a death that should not have happened.

Phuket's children need protection. That's the message of the sad photographs. And what do you do, Klaus?

Instead of recognising the importance of the point being made, you shoot the messenger.

Many of the best international news photographs of every year are of the dead, or dying. That's what helps to turn people against wars, and to sympathise with the suffering of others.

One of the aims of good journalism is to ''afflict the comfortable, and comfort the afflicted.''

Perhaps it's time you were a little less comfortable. Most people are angry that the beaches are unsafe for children. The photograph is proof.

Posted by Angelfire on January 2, 2010 19:29

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Show the photographs. People are so weak and selfish and live in rich expat world. Yes, normal people die here too, why, because some bast*)@% is more bloody interested in money than life.

I say let Phuketwan show the truth and let everybody sit and pay tribute to a young life lost. Last year more than 40 people drowned, shame they were tourists, some were expats, hell let's show Thai people dying as well.

They show dead people on cigarette boxes, noticed any less smokers? You think it's not proper reporting, what you want, only good stuff and good articles?

Posted by Graham on January 2, 2010 20:30

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I saw a lot worse than this in the Tsunami video.

Posted by Antz Pantz on January 2, 2010 23:07

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Good one Angelfire, Klaus wake up, this could help, oh sorry, you don't read this

Posted by No Name on January 2, 2010 23:49

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It's not just Phuket's children that need protection. Thais, both children and adults are drowning all around the country, because they CAN"T SWIM! This is something very "normal" in Thailand, it's just that in Phuket some expat tourists witness the carnage and becomes shocked and upset.

The parents can't swim, are sitting on their beach towel, busy drinking and eating snacks. To change all this would require a total overhaul of the Thai education system, a change in culture and cost a lot of money. Good luck doing all that.

Editor: No point in sitting on your beach towel, Christos. A start has to be made somewhere. Now's a good time.

Posted by christos on January 3, 2010 07:16

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Visited Nai Harn twice in the last two weeks and noticed the strong currents at the far end of the beach. So I and my Thai companion stayed out of the water. It all comes down to education. One need not be an oceanographer to recognize rip currents (the water appears smooth above them) and learning to swim is easy for kids.

Notice how most of the children in BKK seem to be amphibious due to the many klongs and frequent street flooding. But on this island few know this survival skill. How about the all those once overpaid and now underemployed diving instructors volunteering at public pools and teaching Phuket children to swim?!

Editor: Great idea.There's serious interest in developing a beach culture, which could happen with the right kind of dedicated band. Then the lifesaving springs naturally from that. These kinds of articles need to become a thing of the past.

Posted by DrWezzi on January 8, 2010 16:12

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Really great idea.

Next time I am in Phuket, I' ll volunteer. Get me a pool, get me the kids. I'll teach 'em.

Posted by Lena on January 8, 2010 20:30

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Maybe a third of the tuk tuk drivers per day could contribute time as volunteer lifeguards - they seem to have the time as no one's using their vehicles! 75 empty along Beach Road Patong today.

Posted by Mister Ree on January 8, 2010 23:18

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yes education is the key where i was brought up they had very strong currents (3rd highest in world) and we were taught about them. I have two godchildren here in Thailand and first thing I insisted is they learn to swim.

The currents at that end of the beach can be strong but personally i love it when they empty the lake (which is only a low season thing) and creates massive rips which we can surf down. But that is again only education and understanding the currents involved But also if the parent knows the kid cannot swim i would not take my eyes off of them (I have a child and know)

I would be happy to participate in any swimming lessons also maybe Rawai council should spend some of 40 million baht budget for a cable car research into a swimming pool for local kids so this sort of tradegy does not happen again. As this was a kid from the local area, think that is more important than a cable car

Posted by Michael on January 9, 2010 23:31

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please keep some photos of while the child was drowning

Posted by huzefa on March 11, 2010 23:03

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Thank you for publishing the photos. This is what's necessary in order to wake people up to the dangers of swimming where there is no lifeguard.

Posted by Jeff on August 1, 2010 06:14


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