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A jet-ski on Phuket's Patong beach: from villains to heroes

Phuket Jet-Ski Heroes Save Tourist from Drowning

Wednesday, October 13, 2010
A TOURIST from China has been saved from drowning off Phuket after being missing for two hours in rough seas this afternoon - and his rescuers were a group of Patong jet-ski operators.

The holidaymaker, one of a group of 20 friends from China staying at the Holiday Inn on the beach road, had been missing for two hours. His friends had started to doubt that he would be found.

Wolfgang Meusburger, general manager at the resort, who was on the beach, said: ''The jet-ski guys organised a speedboat to go looking for the man. He had been missing for two hours, and they brought him back safely.

''There was clapping and cheering on the beach. It was a wonderful moment. I mean, it was a rough day out there. He was a lucky bugger.''

The man was taken to Bangkok Hospital Phuket where medical staff pronounced him free from hypothermia and healthy, apart from a few marine stinger bites.

Five jetskis were hired by the group of tourists, but only four came back, Mr Meusburger said. In the holiday confusion, it was only later, back at the hotel, that the group realised one among them was missing.

''They went back to the beach and alerted the jet-ski people,'' Mr Meusburger said. ''The marine police also became involved and mounted a search.''

The speedboat went out with jet-ski operators and some of the man's friends . . . and found him, floating in the water in a life vest, to the north of Patong, off the Tavorn Beach Resort.

''He said he could see the coast the whole time,'' Mr Meusburger said. ''He must have been very relived when the speedboat turned up.

''Today we experienced great help and support from the jet ski community in Patong.''

Earlier this week an allegation was made that another group of tourists, this time Malaysians who are based in Singapore, has been ripped off in an extortion scam when two jet-skis were overturned and a large amount paid for what appears to be inexpensive maintenance.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Any word on what happened to the 5th Jetski?? Wonder if it was just a person missing, and not a valuable jetski would the group still be so willing to lend a helping hand..

Posted by Kevin on October 13, 2010 17:17

Editor Comment:

C'mon, Kevin. Show a little generosity of spirit.


I also wonder, did they not miss their jetski?

Anyway, great job, rescuing the guy. But the tourists friends are funny ones. He must have been the fifth wheel on the jetski...

Posted by Lena on October 13, 2010 18:52


Great job on the rescue, lads! I am sure, however, that this story is not yet over as the lads won't let the loss of a jetski go just like that. So if we figure that an existing scratch costs 30,000 baht to repair, then the complete replacement of a jetski should be an expensive proposition indeed. A helicopter rescue would have been cheaper for this poor bloke, although he is most likely very happy to still be alive and willing to pay whatever he can to his rescuers.

Stay tuned as this is sure to get more interesting.

Posted by Treelover on October 13, 2010 21:22

Editor Comment:

They found the jet-ski. Sorry, Treelover. Your theorising would be funny if it wasn't so unfair. Much better to treat people as individuals, the way that the jet-ski guys treated this lost tourist as an individual. Best never to assume the worst because of how people look or what they do for a job, don't you think?


Five jetskis were hired by the group of tourists, but only four came back

Well, that missing jetski is surely going to cost the rescued tourist a hell of a lot of money! Hope JJ isn't involved

Posted by Simon Luttrell on October 13, 2010 22:24

Editor Comment:

They found the fifth jet-ski. There was no suggestion of an extra charge. As Wolfgang from the Holiday Inn said, in a crisis, the best aspects of people's true characters can often be seen.


Sorry Ed. but my first thought ran to the same thing, I mean their jet-ski did go missing along with the poor guy right? And they recovered it as well did they?

At beaches all over the world jet-skis are used for surf life saving, they're the perfect tool for it. Given the number of tourists killed in Phukets surf, and the proliferation of jet-skis on Phuket, really I'm surprised we don't see this story more often.

Honestly Ed., it's noble of you to try and paint these guys in a good light. We all know they get a lot of bad press and for sure they don't all deserve it. What they did today was a 'good' thing, but it's no more than what should be expected of them. Lets see more jet-ski boys making more 'heroic' rescues and they might actually deserve the adoration some might have us lay on them for this this single act of goodness.

Posted by CaptainJack on October 14, 2010 01:38

Editor Comment:

We are not ''trying to paint these guys in a good light'' merely reporting the news of the day. The safety and security of visitors and residents is always of great interest. What you say about human character is mostly true, Captain Jack. I'd add another bit: most people will interpret the day's events to support ingrained prejudices. Real ''news'' often cuts against the grain. Let's hope we hear more clapping and cheering on the beaches.


Sorry Guys I'm with the ed on this one. They saved the guys life. Enough said. I'm sure there will be plenty of opportunities to give them a whack in future but this time let's just say thanks.

Posted by Pete on October 14, 2010 07:14


I'm curious, in fairness, has the "jet ski community" ever located a distressed person who did not lose one of their machines?

You may recall I suggested last year rescue provision be a mandatory part of their license.

Posted by Philip on October 14, 2010 07:29

Editor Comment:

The evidence is that members of the jet-ski group react in a variety of ways to any crisis - just as everybody's reactions vary. It's impossible to regulate human responses to emotional issues - and unwise to make assumptions about how groups of individuals react.


I don't see how an expectation that individuals employed in an industry known for blatant extortion might take this opportunity to hone skills that have made them famous is unfair.

If it were me who had been rescued, knowing what I know about this lot, I would be on pins and needles at the hotel waiting for the likes of JJ and his patrons wearing tight creased brown to knock on the door with a "check bin".

The evidence is overwhelming that many of these guys have ruined more than a few holidays for innocent people who just came here to relax and enjoy themselves. It tends to make a bad impression on the industry as a whole.

But I continue to agree that the news of the day about the rescue is indeed good. As for the rescuers, I will now go with the assumption that "this one is different" until I hear otherwise.

Posted by Treelover on October 14, 2010 08:59

Editor Comment:

It's unfair because of the underlying (unfair) assumption that all jet-ski operators are the same. It's a fact: they are not. As journalists, we are not supposed to make assumptions. Readers are free to do as they wish, but assumptions inevitably obscure the truth. Blaming a group for individual behavior is also unwise.


What makes people "Heroes" is what they do every day in their lives, not just on the one occasion that anyone in the same position would have done.

The Ed is trying to put a positive spin on this story probably in an attempt to boost Phuket's tarnished image in which he obviously has an interest.

Is this a news story involving just reporting of the facts or as an Opinion piece? Because this is a comments section not a forum ED. If you're not interested in peoples opinions then remove the comments section and just keep writing what you want people to believe without the tawdry masses having the ability to express their own thoughts and opinions.

If you're interested in doing a follow up, why don't you find out why the "Heroes" didn't jump on their jet skis and go looking for the victim themselves rather than organizing a speedboat to do it for them, precious time wasted in a situation where every second counts.

Posted by Chris on October 14, 2010 11:54

Editor Comment:

Chris, I think you may be right about closing comments completely, except some readers aren't cynical about the entire world and actually have something to say of value to others.

Speedboats have the capacity to hold more people and range farther and wider without problems with fuel. They probably did hunt initially on the jet-skis - it wasn't something that occurred to us to ask, it seemed obvious.

We don't have an interest in tarnishing or burnishing Phuket's image, only in reporting events, nor do we ''spin'' stories one way or the other, nor do we have any investments in the tourism industry.

If you can't tell the difference between news and opinion, it is of no surprise that you struggle to separate fact from fiction.


Its truly surprising how prejudiced views are against all jet ski operators. Its like we do not want to hear any good news about them. Thanks for reporting this very positive news and a life saved.

That's reason to celebrate. I met the gentlemen who fell of his jet ski and spend two hours in the sea again this morning. He is extremly grateful to all the people who helped to rescue him from the rough seas yesterday.


Posted by wm on October 14, 2010 12:03

Editor Comment:

Prejudice may be Phuket's second biggest problem.



'who fell of his jet ski and spend two hours in the sea again this morning.'

He did it again????

I'll bet he was pushed!

Well done Ed, a good story. You can't please everyone.

Posted by Mark on October 14, 2010 16:54


"It wasn't something that occurred to us to ask. It seemed obvious" I commend you then on your supreme standards of journalism.

Back to usual Jet Ski operator standards today though eh? Real bunch of heroes.

Posted by Chris on October 15, 2010 10:26

Editor Comment:

There you go again, Chris, behaving in a supercilious fashion - and after the event, as always. Who needs journalism: all we have to do is ask you.


I'm on Kevin's side, Editor.
The jetski operators here use shotguns and regularly extort $ from foreigners. Do you really think they give a d*** about foreigners? I sure don't.

Posted by Tired of the act on October 15, 2010 17:22

Editor Comment:

The point is that there are no ''sides.'' It's not ''them'' versus ''us,'' but a matter of those people who do the wrong thing being brought to justice, expat or Thai, one law for all.

What shotguns? There was footage of one operator with a gun. That's not the same thing. How many jet-ski operators have you ever spoken to before forming your opinion? You wouldn't be just making it up, would you?


that's sooooo cool

Posted by avrijrul on April 1, 2011 06:15


I hope the Jet Ski community can feel the positivity from the actions and the good reaction from the onlookers and people involved.

Karma is something that can be passed on so hope they can consider such benevolence in their future actions.

It feels good to be one of the good guys, hope they can stay that way.

Posted by Rob on April 1, 2011 11:19

Wednesday October 27, 2021
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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