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The new signage goes up along Phuket's favorite Russian beaches

Phuket Lifeguards Plead: Please Help to Prevent Drownings

Friday, June 17, 2011
PHUKET: Lifeguards are asking resort managements and Phuket tour operators to make a greater effort to inform Phuket tourists of the dangers at Phuket beaches following a tragic honeymoon drowning.

Their plea comes in the aftermath of the death of Russian tourist Irina Tsyz, 24, whose life ended in the intensive care unit of a Phuket City hospital after she was carried alive from surf at Naithon beach on Wednesday.

A lifesaver who helped her to the beach was also hospitalised briefly for observation.

Warning signs in the Russian language were being placed at Phuket beaches this week, including outside the Naithon resort where the Russian newlyweds had been enjoying their holiday since June 8.

A spokesperson at the resort, questioned today about whether the resort gives direct and appropriate warnings to guests on arrival, put the telephone down on a Phuketwan reporter, saying: ''We have 300 Russian guests arriving.''

Nathon, Karon and Kata are the beaches where non-English speaking visitors to Phuket have drowned in recent monsoon seasons between April and November, when conditions are most dangerous.

Phuket Lifeguard Club leader, Prathayut ''Nat'' Cheryon, said today: ''Tour operators, resorts and lifeguards all need to work together to save lives.

''If the tour operators warn them, and the resorts warn them, then we stand a better chance.''

One tour operator who specialises in Russian guests told Phuketwan today that his customers were always given a thorough briefing about Phuket beach dangers during the monsoon season.

''The problem is that people who have just arrived on holiday are often not good listeners,'' said the tour operator, who prefers to stay anonymous.

Patong and Karon resort manager Javed Shaikh, who is on the executive committee of the Phuket Tourist Association, says all guests at his Horizon resort in Karon are warned on arrival about monsoon season dangers at the beach.

''The choice is ultimately up to the guests but at least if we have told them that the beach can be dangerous, we have fulfilled our responsibility, '' he said.

Latest available statistics show there were four drownings on and around Phuket in April, bringing the tally for the first four months of the year to 14 compared to 12 at the same stage in 2010.

An increase in the number of lifeguards and training and equipment at 13 popular west coast beaches provide a better chance of rescue now on Phuket.

But preventative warnings still do not deter all swimmers from taking to the surf when the lifeguards fly red do-not-swim flags.

Comments

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Sometimes, the resorts here are amazingly passive.

I recently went to a four-star resort in Rayong. At the beach, they had raised the red flag. So, I asked the lifeguard if that indeed meant it was not safe to go into the water.

He replied that is was perfectly safe, but they had just forgotten to lower the flag. Did they lower the flag after that message? No...

Posted by Michael on June 17, 2011 15:03

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We recently had a guest drowning as well despite putting in multi-language leaflet (including the national language of the guest) stating the dangers of the water and to pay notice to the flags. On the day of incident the lifeguard did warn the guest not to enter the waters but was ignored and waved away. Short of bodily manouevering the guest out of the water, the lifeguards could only stand by and watch closely. Within 10 minutes the guest was in trouble and the lifeguard rushed in, but in the panicky situation, the guest swallowed too much water. He was breathing when he was pulled out of the water but died at the hospital.
Guests need to understand as well that warnings are put up for their protection and that they are not invincible during holidays.

Ultimately the question is, how do we make guests listen? Them blatantly ignoring our warnings are putting the lifeguards at risk, too.

Posted by May on June 17, 2011 16:23

Editor Comment:

The issue begins with tourists being enticed to Phuket for beach holidays at times of the year when it can be too dangerous to swim. Some people insist on enjoying the kind of holiday they thought they had paid to have. It's not just a Phuket issue: other destinations also have the same deadly allure. Tragically, a few will ignore good advice. The only untried option is to close beaches entirely on the worst days.

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On dangerous days just post a multi- language sign saying, "Due to the currents, today is a good day to die."

Posted by Anonymous on June 17, 2011 23:25

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working in Brazil at the moment I stay on a beach that is subject to rip currents anyone tries to enter the water when the red flag is flying the lifeguards just stand there blowing the whistle till they come out.

Though do agree everyone needs to work together informing them of the dangers

Also agree that should be at the booking stage but the only action there can be a claim in the country the holiday was booked in

Posted by michael on June 18, 2011 11:23


Friday January 27, 2023
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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