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Fresh warning signs were being placed along Phuket beaches last week

Phuket Lifeguards Red-Flag Beaches as Body Washes Up at Patong

Monday, June 4, 2012
PHUKET: The body of a young man who drowned at Phuket's Patong beach washed ashore about 5.30am today, about 300 metres from the spot where he disappeared.

Austatiwood Prommarat, 18, disappeared into the surf near Loma Park with his uncle, Abhichat Piromsod, 22, on Saturday.

Lifeguards rescued the older man, but could not reach Khun Prommarat, from Bangkok, who had been visiting his mother. She works on Phuket.

The body of the young man, which washed back north of Loma Park, is now in Patong Hospital, where his uncle had been treated and released after Saturday's tragedy.

Lifeguards on Phuket beaches are now placing red warning flags at 50-metre intervals along as many of Phuket's popular west coast beaches as possible, a spokesperson for the Phuket Lifeguard Service told Phuketwan today.

''We have just taken delivery of 300 red flags with ''Danger, No Swimming'' stencilled on them in English and Thai,'' the spokesperson said. ''But we need more.

''The plan is to put these flags out at 50 metre intervals along every beach to try to save lives. There will also be the yellow-and-red flags to indicate where it's safe to swim.

''Because some of the rips are called 'travelling rips' and their locations move each day, the lifeguards will determine each morning where it's safe for people to swim. On very dangerous days, there may not be any yellow-and-red flags.

''In effect, this means the beach will be closed to swimming on that day. At this time of the year, the start of the monsoon, all days can be dangerous.''

Phuketwan has suggested that Phuket authorities, concerned at informing tourists about the potential for earthquakes and tsunamis, should also warn about Phuket's seasonal swimming dangers in a systematic way.

A video describing all the dangers, screened by all airlines that come to Phuket and shown as all aircraft descend to Phuket, would be the ideal way to alert tourists to all holiday dangers.

As a second layer of warning, tourists should be told in person on check-in in the appropriate language at all resorts about the dangers at beaches at this time of the year.

Warning signs, red flags and lifeguards blowing whistles would represent a third layer of warnings for both tourists and Thais.

Comments

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its a terrible circumstance for that boy and his family and also for the person who found the body, that would be awful. Good to see they have done something towards stronger warnings. More big swells coming apparently. The last piece about warning tourists via videos etc, i know some Flights i come in on don't have screens ( budget of course ). It reminds me of the old Jaws movie,...don't want to alarm the public and scare them away. But the public need to be alarmed or warned at least.

Posted by carvets on June 4, 2012 20:00

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There you go stencils on flags as I suggested in other forums here and was rubbished for also international warning signs though this warning sign needs work if you understand none of the languages the swim picture could mean anything,aside from that nitpick very positive steps in the right direction.

Posted by traveller on June 4, 2012 22:59

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That swimmer icon needs a big red circle with a slash through it that is recognized internationally as a "CAUTION". If you don't read Thai or English, like probably half the tourists, then sorry, but it can be argued the icon is beckoning; "Swimming is OK here. "

Posted by Media Watcher on June 5, 2012 07:39

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@ media watcher.

I believe the swimmer icon is correct though it should not be the main focus. It depicts what to do by waving your arm when caught in a rip depicted by the turbulent water. It's a bit like closing the gate after the horse has bolted, especially if there are no lifeguards on duty.

However, that instead of the microscopically small writing that most, won't or can't read, I suggest there should be the internationally recognized
swimmer in a red circle with a red diagonal line.

It is a shame they don't do more marketing research and to try to solve such an important problem before it starts.

Unfortunately as hard as we may all try it is impossible to save people from their own stupidity, but through education we may be able to help overcome their ignorance.

Posted by interested observer on June 5, 2012 14:17

Editor Comment:

This is never about ''saving people from their own stupidity,'' a cop-out usually expounded by those who don't have the imagination to understand the real problem. We've talked on too many occasions to survivors/friends/family and in almost every case it is about overcoming the holiday euphoria that kicks in when people are in a positive mood and believe they are holidaying at a safe swimming beach destination. There's certainly an element of self-deception, but stupidity? No. One Australian woman should have known better, but was having too much fun and wanted a late swim. A group of Rumanians were so keen to start their beach holiday, they went straight in close to sunset, immediately after check-in. Nobody said it wasn't safe. If you talked to people connected with the deaths, you'd quickly discover that ''stupidity'' has nothing to do with it. In the case of those who drink then swim, it's purely lack of understanding. There are those who view these real tragedies as though they are watching a cartoon, and the best conclusion they can come to is ''stupidity.'' Certainly, a lot more needs to be done.

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@mediawatcher, I agreed with internationaly recognised signs and flads, but to show how things become confused, the red circle with a slash actually means, at least in Australia,
Swimming Prohibited Beach Closed

Posted by Laurie Howells on June 5, 2012 14:47

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Anyone take these guys out to dinner or pay them a thank-you visit, and drop off some fruit or food? Maybe interview them with a few nice pics? Sometimes initiative in this country or any other needs serious follow-up encouragement.

Posted by JingJing on June 5, 2012 15:59

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''stupidity'' has nothing to do with it. In the case of those who drink then swim, it's purely lack of understanding." Wow there's a stupid comment by the commentator. So those who drink and drive are not stupid, only have a lack of understanding? Cra-! They are dumb-asses full stop.

Posted by DunB on June 5, 2012 17:17

Editor Comment:

The difference between drinking and swimming and drinking and driving is that your actions only harm yourself in the water. It's usually people who don't know the power of the sea - and who probably are used to drinking and swimming in calmer water - who lack understanding. It has more to do with being on holiday and not feeling as though you are at risk from anything.

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Hi ED. I disagree with you on that comment,the drink and swim brigade only hurt themselves. No. They put the lives of their would be rescuers and other helpers in danger, trying to save their "stupid" lives.

Posted by DunB on June 5, 2012 17:43

Editor Comment:

If there are rescuers in the vicinity, DunB, that's true. But to go back a step, perhaps you can explain to me why people are ''stupid'' or ''dumbasses'? Aren't these words people use when their own understanding of why others do what they do fails them? In other words, name-calling doesn't seem to offer much of a solution, or even a hope of understanding, whether you are right or I am right. Once you stop wanting to know and settle for name-calling, doesn't that make you a dumb-ass?

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@ED..''There's certainly an element of self-deception, but stupidity? No. One Australian woman should have known better, but was having too much fun and wanted a late swim.'
You really think that that is not a stupid act?she was not stupid?..come on!! Good grief man..

Posted by davidj949 on June 5, 2012 18:59

Editor Comment:

Some people go through life putting down others whose actions they can't understand. I reckon it's better to look for the reason, then you'll never find yourself in the same situation. And there is always a reason.

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"The difference between drinking and swimming and drinking and driving is that your actions only harm yourself in the water. "

Ya, sure! If a idiot endangered himself and jumped in the water, to rescue a drunk swimmer, that is only harming the drunk swimmer.
I see a plate of arrogance with a little ignorance on the side, in many of Ed's comments on readers comments!
jm2c!

Posted by ??? on June 5, 2012 19:03

Editor Comment:

The debate is about the mental state of the people who go for a swim, jm2c (or ???). Usually only those who are losing the debate make personal attacks or call for reinforcements.

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Yes the red circle with diagnal line means total prohibition and internationaly known, for example I assure you in Australia when these type of signs say no swimming crocodiles there is 100% compliance no matter what nation you are from,why on phuket is it all so hard, red and white ribbon like you see on the police shows between barriers is also very effective portable and removed or erected as conditions dictate and very cheap (not strung between the patolled flag area of course).

Posted by traveller on June 5, 2012 19:29

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I took Interested Observer's ignorance comment to be directed at Thai authorities who don't bother to learn and have posters made that can be recognized universally as warnings without any text. DUH !! And Ed, please re instate my comment about red having no business in a an OK to swim flag. Red for NO, Green for OK.

Posted by Media Watcher on June 5, 2012 22:15

Editor Comment:

That comment of yours was posted where you put it, on the thread with the article 'Phuket Must Do More to Protect Tourists'

There is no such confusion surrounding Interest Observer's comment, or where it was directed. ''Unfortunately as hard as we may all try it is impossible to save people from their own stupidity, but through education we may be able to help overcome their ignorance.''

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Yip ED, I am the dumbass. For twenty-one years, I held the hands of the dying, the children burnt to death in car accidents, the hikers missing and dead on mountains, oh the list can go on and on. I was a very senior search and rescue member. I have the photographs here to back up statements. You want to take a look?
Yes I am the dumbass. Why did I put my life on hold for those silly enough to get to die.
Lifeguards on the beaches, time to leave, the drowning swimmers are only up to there own stupidity as the ED says. No need to endanger your own lives, or put your own families on instant panic mode when you enter the water. No.
Let them drown, for they are only being uninformed.

Posted by DunB on June 5, 2012 23:09

Editor Comment:

I guess you used up all your compassion. Perhaps you should have been on Wall Street.

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Erect traffic lights on the beach red amber and green if they like but something clear and universally understood,while some of you armchair academics have gone off topic focusing on stupidity the body count increases practical an workable solutions are more welcome and highly regarded.

Posted by traveller on June 6, 2012 16:16

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@traveler.A practical and workable solution is at hand. I will be opening up a beach stall selling coffins. The swimmers may have one made to order, then go for a swim.
I have been here more than seven years now, I am still waiting to see workable solutions for the _ _ _ _ swimmers? Good try with the lights, who is going to switch them on and off?

Posted by DunB on June 6, 2012 18:38

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A vigorous "campaign" need to be planned before/during the monsoon to raise awareness about the safety, security and protection of the tourists, and ideally, this should be initiated by local people in the island. From my experience of near drowning at Karon, if, for instance, a little local information provided at the hotel, this will do a lot of good and can save many lives.

Posted by Yoko on June 7, 2012 07:57

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@ Dunb i doubt coffin surboards will catch on, and you better have a work permit, gee with automation these days and manual over ride cant be to hard to flick a switch still everything seems too hard on phuket, in the workable solution dept all i read is a thousand reasons why not and not one why can do

Posted by traveller on June 7, 2012 22:20

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@traveller. They are wooden boxes of light wood, like the tsunami coffins. They are not surf boards. Easier to just put the bodies into, as there will be many more to come this season, mark my words.
Have WP and company, so the swimmer can go for a swim, drown, then I can sell the coffin to his family on the beach. Warnings have failed every year, so this is just a cleaning business.

Posted by DunB on June 8, 2012 09:12

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@DunB if only Phuket had more business enterpreners like you u could hire jet skis slow season, Arfur Daly be proud of you,well we do agree the drowning toll is highly over represented your solution is to look for a baht buisness in it well that will fix it no problem, mate your been in thailand too long your even adopted the umm interesting thai logic.

Posted by traveller on June 8, 2012 12:32

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Hey! It is very terrible :( I am M??nika Buz??si from Hungary.I was in Patong last summer.I met a boy on the beach,near the yellow sunshades.The boys name is Deen Dud, he is a lifeguard. I lost all the contact with him and I want to know something news about him.(and his e-mail ) I would be very grateful if somebody could say something about Deen. Please help me! I am worried about the boy. Please say him, that i want to find him. He knows me! Thank you!

Posted by M??nika Buz??si on June 23, 2012 01:17


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