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The Russian tourists won't forget their first visit to Phuket in a hurry

Phuket Speedboat Swim Horror Leaves Island's Reputation in Ruins

Monday, December 5, 2011
PHUKET: A Russian tourist has told for the first time of the horror of the moment she realised on a Phuket beach that her husband had been struck by the propeller of a wayward speedboat.

Mrs Nikolai Nefedov was speaking from her husband's bedside at Vachira Phuket Hospital in Phuket City - with the couple also embroiled in a dispute about holiday insurance.

The couple's blissful 12-day break on Phuket went horribly wrong on Friday when a speedboat with only the driver on board ploughed into a swimming area at Phuket's popular Kata beach.

No Phuket tourism authorities have since visited the wounded Russian tourist, nor has the speedboat company bothered to send flowers or a representative to discuss compensation.

''I am also disappointed at the lack of consideration shown by consular officials on Phuket,'' she said, still hoping that after one more operation on Tuesday her husband can fly home to Russia as scheduled on Thursday.

''Nikolai is a strong swimmer,'' she told Phuketwan today. ''He was with some other swimmers in the water at Kata beach, where we had been having a great holiday, when the speedboat suddenly came at them.

''I was on the beach. It was a while before I realised Nikolai had been struck. He managed to dive under the water, but the propeller struck his legs. When he signalled to the driver of the boat to help him, the man seemed reluctant.

''Nicolai actually had to climb the stairs on board the speedboat by himself, then signal to the driver that he needed to be taken ashore.''

In previous cases where tourists have sustained serious injuries, the Phuket companies involved usually go out of their way to visit them.

On occasions, Phuket Police Commander Major General Pekad Tantipong or Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha have apologised in person on behalf of Phuket.

When young Ukranian honeymooners Tetiana Meia and Artem Perepelitsyn were injured in an elephant rampage on Phuket in September, the trekking company involved paid them compensation and were concerned to make sure the pair made a full recovery.

A tourist is seriously wounded by Speedboat No. 18 at Kata beach . . . and there is resounding silence.

Nothing from the driver or the company involved, nothing either from Marine Office 5, which oversees Phuket's speedboats and jet-skis.

Zoning controls have recently been proposed for jet-skis and speedboats at Phuket's Patong beach. But as with the driver of the Kata speedboat, taking responsibility for the safety of swimmers is by no means assured.

As increasing numbers of tourists crowd the water at Phuket's beaches, the safest solution is to move jet-ski operators and parasailers further away from the beaches, using offshore pontoons as Boracay island does in the Philippines.

Nikolai Nefedov was first taken to Phuket International Hospital on Friday and treated until it was discovered that his insurance company only has a relationship with one Phuket hospital, Vachira Phuket.

His wife's passport - she left it there voluntarily, according to a hospital spokesperson - can be collected at any time from Phuket International, a spokesperson said today.

But that still leaves the matter of who pays the 13,000 baht bill for Mr Nefedov's initial treatment.

Clearly, responsibility for compensation lies with the company that runs Kata speedboat No. 18, plus its wayward driver.

But so far, nobody in authority on Phuket has shown signs that they care.

Comments

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Sad story. I hope the guy recovers without a limp.

Posted by Anonymous on December 5, 2011 17:44

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Curious that the boat driver hasn't turned up yet to claim for the damage to his boat - maybe he's waiting for advice from the 'entrepreneurs' who operate the jet skis.

Posted by Mister Ree on December 5, 2011 18:57

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And it was not a surprise to me to read that the 'company' involved did not bother with the aftermath of the accident. It looks and feels that the beach operators have only the 'dollar' in their mind, not the well being of anything else, unfortunately...

Posted by Lucien on December 5, 2011 19:04

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Speaks volumes. I don't really need say more, it's all been told before. Get well soon Nikolai and have a safe journey home. No doubt you won't be back.

Posted by agogohome on December 5, 2011 19:09

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The place has turned into a 3rd world sink hole who's golden goose is about to fly away never to return,why is no one from the relevant government department on the island brought the idiot in charge of the speedboat to book and made him or his company compensate fully the innocent tourist? It's bad here. When even the Russian tourists are starting to complain, you know the place is on the slide.

Posted by Scunner on December 5, 2011 19:56

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Scunner, you've just realized that Phuket is the third world? Thailand has always been, and will always be, the third world because it has long since been left behind by its neighbor Malaysia and now even by the likes of Indonesia and Vietnam. Only the Philippines is worse in this region. Cambodia doesn't count because it's still struggling to come to terms with the legacy of its civil war, but it is advancing. Thailand and (especially) the Philippines are the two big failures in South-East Asia. But it still won't stop me living here.

Posted by Andreas on December 5, 2011 22:16

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Yeah, I'd say this one's going to remain as-is. they should go to the police and file charges. the guys who work the beach won't care anyways. they charge through people every single day, many times per day - in the middle and the southern end of the beach.

Posted by JingJing on December 6, 2011 05:51

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I have long since abandoned Kata beach for the dangers which these speedboats and jetskis cause. I wouldn't leave my children on that beach!

Posted by Anonymous on December 6, 2011 06:40

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Beach management - I was in Batu Ferringhi, Penang in Feb this year at a time when jetskis and paragliders etc were all banned, briefly after a series of accidents. Went back last week and what a difference - beach has been divided up, signs designating which registered and licenced operators may be in their specific areas only, buoys/ropes setting out jetski and boat lanes, and safe swimming areas. Not perfect, still too many water craft in my opinion, but a huge improvement in terms of safety. One benefit is by having set swimming area it is easier for parents to keep an eye on kids, and also for lifeguards to manage smaller sections of water rather than the whole beach.

Posted by Talisman on December 6, 2011 11:02

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So is there no law against running over someone with a speed boat? Have any of the speed boat operators from accidents near the diving sites ever been arrested?

Please ask Chalong Police when they will arrest him.

Posted by Nancy Botwin on December 6, 2011 20:14

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Accidents happen! Its no excuse, but boats in Phuket havent run over people in... when was the last time this happened???

Why does the media have to sensationalize this by saying the entire island's reputation is now "in ruin"? When obviously the whole reputation does not depend on this small incident.

Posted by j on December 7, 2011 10:15

Editor Comment:

The island's reputation is not in ruins because of the crash but because of the lack of aftercare. There has been no compensation and no admission of fault, and no visit - as there usually is after an incident like this - by someone to say ''Sorry.'' That's why Phuket's reputation has suffered. To say ''accidents happen'' and describe it as ''a small incident'' trivialises the needless pain and suffering of this tourist and his family. Accidents do not happen. They are mostly caused by irresponsible actions.

We do not have a record of every incident, only those we learn about, but a young Japanese woman was killed instantly off Phuket not long ago when her head came into contact with a speedboat propeller.

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A friennd of mine just one week ago was struck by a propeller of long tail boat in the same beach. Hs suffered a long cut on his right arm sewn at Patong Hospital with 16 stitches. And the drivers of the boat run away...

Posted by Dave on February 4, 2012 21:20


Wednesday January 19, 2022
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