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Tragedy ends Phuket holidays as swimmers dies after rescues

Phuket Drownings: Two Tourists Die After Rescues

Monday, August 3, 2009
TWO tourists died after being plucked from the surf at Phuket beaches over the weekend, one after being rescued at Patong and the other from Karon, apparent victims of seasonal rip currents.

Both tourists, men aged 59 and 37, died in Patong Hospital.

The first man, a Ukranian, was pulled from the water at central Patong beach, near Loma Park, about noon on Friday. He died about 1.45pm.

The second man, a Russian, was rescued at Karon about 4pm yesterday but died in Patong Hospital that evening, more than four hours later.

He was named today as Alvars Vanags, 37, who had been at the beach opposite the Movenpick Resort, where he had been staying with his wife, Anna, 41.

His death was confirmed by Colonel Boonlert On-klang, of Chalong Police.

Police Lieutenant Jukkapong Luang-On, of Kathu Police, confirmed Friday's death.

At least 30 drownings have been reported on and around Phuket in the year up to July 1, with several more last month.

''If safety cannot be ensured, then perhaps all Phuket beaches should be closed to swimmers for the monsoon season,'' a safety expert suggested to Phuketwan today.

A new lifeguard rescue system has been put in place but top-quality equipment and complete training are still lacking.

Most of the reported deaths take place at Karon and Patong, Phuket's two most popular beaches.

Those are also two of Phuket's longest beaches, leaving lifeguards with lengthy stretches to patrol.

Although warning signs have been erected by local authorities over the past few weeks, tourists continue to attempt to swim during the monsoon season, which for the first time this year is being promoted as ''Summer.''

Experts make the point that people rescued from the surf must have proper CPR carried out immediately.

''It's the most important thing,'' one safety expert reiterated today. ''Without CPR, a rescued person is still very much in danger.''

Speed is critical at every phase of a rescue, and jetskis with rafts attached are the fastest and most efficient means of saving lives on Phuket, coupled with the rapid application of CPR.

CPR involves creating artificial circulation through rhythmic pressing on the patient's chest to manually pump blood through the heart, called chest compressions. It usually also involves the rescuer exhaling into the patient.

New warning signs near Loma Park in Patong spell out the dangers well - to anyone who can read Thai or English.

Rip currents are inevitable at most western Phuket beaches during the monsoon season, although the surface of the water often looks flat and safe.

At Kata, the next beach south from Karon, an expat resident reported to Phuketwan ''On Thursday I was at Kata and over the period of an hour I took some photos of the one lifeguard stand. I waited to see a lifeguard . . . but no one showed up.''

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Comments have been disabled for this article.


It is so overwhelmingly sad to read of more drownings, more families whose holidays are coming to abrupt and tragic ends.

Please train your lifeguards, Or Bor Jor- not in Bali, but in Thailand with local conditions, as soon as possible.

Please show you care for those who use your beaches - locals and tourists!

Posted by Safety first on August 3, 2009 10:51


Looking at the photos of the warning boards and the flags, you have to be blind not to understand this. Everyone now from hotel staff to folks at the beaches, advise tourists not to swim.

If after this you want to take on the sea, go ahead, you can also earn yourself a Darwin award, ( ). Blunt yes, but drownings are not good for our image either.

Posted by Mouse on August 3, 2009 15:19


Yesterday i walked along Karon beach, in front of the Movenpick hotel, there were no red flags and dozens of people in the water. There is no interest in warning tourists on this beach and the life guards are more interested in renting out surf boards. Very sad to hear another life was lost. It is time that they got some professional help to run Kata and Karon beaches.

Posted by Peter J Notley on August 3, 2009 17:53


That was our friend who died on Sunday. He was on vacation with his wife and 3 young children. Why if 30+ people have drowned this year, aren't there more warnings in place for tourists.

The beach should be closed if there are rip currents. The lifeguards should not let the people in the sea. That's what we do in the United States.

Posted by Anonymous on August 4, 2009 04:45


That was my cousin who drowned at the age of 37. His name is not Alvars, bet Aivars. His nationality is not Russian but Latvian. Of course, that is of no significance since he is dead. What an incredible shock.

Posted by Rita Schultz on August 4, 2009 20:53


VOLUNTEERS!!!!! Thailand is depending on everybody else, get the volunteers in!!! Garbage everywhere, no wonder people go to the clean countries nearby, volunteers people, nothing else can fix this problem.

Posted by jojo on August 11, 2009 21:06


JoJo, Thailand has a bizarre and insidious policy of forcing volunteers to obtain work permits. One can be arrested for picking up trash, but not for throwing it on the ground- Amazing Thailand !

Posted by MediaWatcher2009 on August 16, 2009 08:58

Saturday April 13, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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