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Karon beach, where lifeguards are searching for a missing tourist

Phuket Day of Beach Tragedies: One Tourist Drowns, Another is Missing, Feared Dead

Sunday, August 8, 2010

ONE tourist has drowned and another tourist is missing in a day of tragedy at two of Phuket's most popular but treacherous beaches. The tourist from China, pulled from the water at Kata, died at Patong Hospital this afternoon with his wife at his bedside. Hope is fading that the other tourist, from Bahrain, lost off Karon beach, will be found alive.

Original Report

A DESPERATE search was being conducted this afternoon for a tourist who went missing while swimming in the surf at Phuket's notoriously dangerous Karon beach.

At Patong Hospital, doctors failed in an attempt to save the life of a tourist from China, who was pulled from the surf in a second incident at the neighboring Phuket beach of Kata.

Off Karon beach, lifeguards using a jet-ski and a dinghy were looking for the man, one of three tourists from Bahrain in the Middle East who found themselves in difficulties in the water.

Two of the men were pulled to safety on the shore and recovered after resuscitation was performed. The third man, however, is missing. He was named as Ali Alsaeed, 25.

His two friends were sitting on the beach this afternoon, shedding tears. After two hours, there seemed little hope he would be found alive.

The incident took place off the beach from the Karon golden dragon statue.

A man from Romania drowned at this spot late last month. Survivors from the group of friends from Romania said they were not warned about the danger at their beachfront resort, the Karon Princess.

The three Bahrain tourists were guests at the Patong Express Resort. Patong, Karon and Kata are Phuket's three most popular west coast tourist destinations.

A second incident occurred this afternoon at Kata beach, the next beach to Karon, where sources say Chinese tourist Chao Dakun,
age about 40, was pulled from the water and later died at Patong Hospital. He and his wife were staying at Kata Sea Beach Resort.

Drownings this monsoon season are following the pattern of previous monsoon seasons and can only accentuate calls for Karon beach - and possibly other beaches - to be closed on days when conditions are dangerous.

Lifeguards have said they are unable to patrol the whole length of the four-kilometre beach, so they need resorts to warn guests about the dangers of Karon.

The Romanian man was pulled from the water at Karon alive but doctors were unable to save him. He was one of five deaths by drowning reported to Phuket's Public Health Department in July. Another five people were admitted to hospital, but recovered.

Phuketwan recently highlighted in an opinion article that a number of countries have issued travel alerts for Bangkok, where no tourists have been killed in this year's violence, yet tourists drown needlessly and too often at Karon beach and other Phuket beaches during the monsoon season.

It can only be a matter of time before countries begin to warn tourists about the dangers of Phuket's beaches during the monsoon season.

Yesterday, six Thai high school children were pulled to safety in a mass rescue at Phuket's southern Nai Harn beach. The first Phuket drowning of the year came on January 1 when a 10-year-old boy drowned at Nai Harn.

In 2009, there were 57 drownings in the waters of Phuket. This compares with the 153 deaths on Phuket's roads, highlighting the disproportionate danger in the water.

So far this year, there have been 25 drownings to the end of July. The 2009 figure included seven victims from a dive boat capsize.
Phuket Mass Rescue Saves Six From Drowning
Latest Lifesavers and locals on Nai Harn beach combined to save six children who swam into difficulties while on a picnic. Two students required treatment at Vachira Hospital in Phuket City.
Phuket Mass Rescue Saves Six From Drowning

Phuket Resorts Must Stop Drownings or Beaches Will be Subject to Travel Alerts: Opinion
Phuketwan Opinion Drownings can be reduced but only with the help of Phuket's resorts. The alternative is for dangerous beaches to be blacklisted and subjected to Bangkok style travel alerts.
Phuket Resorts Must Stop Drownings or Beaches Will be Subject to Travel Alerts: Opinion

Phuket Drownings: How Life Ebbs Away on Karon Beach
Latest Lifeguards from Phuket's Karon beach are frustrated and upset that many local resorts fail to warn tourists of potential dangers that continue to cost lives needlessly.
Phuket Drownings: How Life Ebbs Away on Karon Beach

Phuket's Killer Beach Claims British Tourist
Breaking News A British woman has drowned on holiday on Phuket, latest victim of Karon, the pleasant beach that turns killer at this time of year.
Phuket's Killer Beach Claims British Tourist

Phuket Tourist Dies in Dangerous Surin Surf
Latest A German tourist has become the first victim of the notoriously dangerous monsoon beach season on Phuket, where some people try to swim despite red flag warnings.
Phuket Tourist Dies in Dangerous Surin Surf


Comments have been disabled for this article.


I really hope one day that your headline will be: This low season no one drowned. Phuket beaches safe, not sorry.

Posted by Lena on August 9, 2010 00:02


All the campaigns and good intentions will not, I fear, stop people swimming when and where they should not. When human nature and Mother nature go head to head, we lose.

Posted by Tanya Millibank on August 9, 2010 06:07


I was walking on both Karon and Kata beaches yesterday the day of the drownings...anyone with a semblance of self preservation would certainly not venture into the surf....both beaches were well signed by red flags etc...I come from New Zealand where the surf can be really wild at times but we have respect for the sea...many people from a lot of countries do not have that respect nor realise how strong the surf can be...maybe if the hotels etc do have warnings about the danger u will always get some people who think they know better

Posted by phuketstan on August 9, 2010 08:57

Editor Comment:

Sure, but people are being enticed to come to Phuket for beach holidays. They expect to be able to swim. If they were told the truth at their departure points, many would choose an alternative, safer place. Visitors deserve to be told repeatedly that on some days, the beaches are dangerous. That would be fair and responsible.


I was swimming in the sea at Patong Beach yesterday when there were red flags up, as were a few others. You could feel the rip was quite strong so I did not go in too deep. If you ever get caught in the rip, it is not wise to swim directly against it.

Posted by Matt on August 9, 2010 09:45

Editor Comment:

What we can't be certain about is whether either of the latest victims could swim. The advice to go with the ''rip'' current is good. But if a non-swimmer is knocked over and pulled out of their depth by a normal wave, there is less chance of them being able to stay afloat and survive.


i swam at kata beach every day last week. Yes the conditions are rough, but i found them no different to a lot of the open surf beaches here in australia. I experienced no rips, but can confirm strong undertows from some waves. In summary, rough surf conditions you have to be aware of.

However, if you are a non swimmer or not experienced ocean swimmer ... well then, stay away. but that applies to all oceans, not just Phuket.

i found the lifeguard coverage to be better than i have heard reported. Many times i witnessed lifeguards leaving their posts and talking into walkie talkies relaying info/news up and down the beach to the other guards.

We also travelled to other beaches, and the beaches north of Patong were less rough and had yellow flags. So people have choices ( not to forget most of Phang Nga bay).

Personal safety is a personal issue.

I have a bigger issue with the rubbish/debris on the Phuket beaches. Now that is what will drive me away from Phuket.

Posted by dan joyce on August 9, 2010 14:13

Editor Comment:

The monsoon season brings debris, and it brings death. Cleaning up the beaches is the easy part.


I'm absolutely a luck guy of Karon beach. Last week, I was pulled out by a lifeguard after being caught by a rip current when swimming in Karon beach. Thank God. I just swimmed for several minutes and drinked a little salt water. Thank all the people who rescue me, including the lifeguards, a Thai girl and my wife. However, any way, Karon is definitely a dangerous place if you are not a good sea swimmer.

Posted by Windy Chen on August 9, 2010 14:48


Wondered why my comments first thing this morning was not registered?

Posted by Christine fuglsang from Australia on August 9, 2010 18:50

Editor Comment:

Have another look, Christine. It went straight up early this morning. We had it as the lead item fore a while. But it was on the later update, 'Double Drowning . . .'

Saturday August 8, 2020
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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