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A resort warning sign spotted at Phuket's rubbish dump

Phuket Tourist Dies in Dangerous Surin Surf

Friday, May 28, 2010
A TOURIST from Germany has become the first victim of Phuket's dangerously steep monsoon season surf and undercurrents.

Marek Klein, 51, was pulled from the water dead after going for a swim alone at Surin, on Phuket's west coast, about 5.30pm on Wednesday.

His death is likely to intensify calls for resorts and airlines to warn tourists of the dangers in the water before more lives are lost. Other needless deaths are bound to follow unless proper warnings are delivered, both at Phuket resorts and on incoming flights.

Mr Klein was spotted in the water, but his body could not be retrieved for about 30 minutes because the surf was too strong.

An autopsy at Vachira Hospital in Phuket City will determine whether Mr Klein drowned or suffered a heart attack while in the water.

Even with red flags placed along beaches, Thais and expat tourists continue to try to enjoy their ''summer holidays'' on Phuket by swimming in the sea, despite the dangers.

The answer, experts now say, lies with proper warnings in resorts in at least six languages. The warnings should also be delivered on aircraft as passengers descend to Phuket.

Official Public Health figures report five deaths by drowning on Phuket for April, compared to 10 deaths on the island's roads. This indicates the disproportionate danger of Phuket's beaches, especially during the monsoon season, when the number of drownings usually rises.

US disaster researcher Robert X Fogarty recently visited Phuket to examine the tsunami warning system. His strong recommendation was that passengers on flights arriving on Phuket should be told about the possibility of tsunami alerts. A message should also be delivered at the same time about the danger of swimming when red flags are posted on the beaches.

Ten seconds devoted to both issues at the end of the regulation promotional video has the potential to save many lives.

Lifeguards are still being trained as part of a more comprehensive approach to protection of locals and tourists on Phuket's popular west coast beaches.

But the groups remain in the training phase and are not yet equipped with skills or the gear required to execute big-seas rescues.

Local Surin surfer Luke Remmers says: ''The water is really steep now, and really dangerous.'' Mr Remmers, an American, is training young locals to swim and surf at Bang Tao beach, which is safer at this time of the year. At least one local resort advises guests not to swim at Surin beach between April and November.

An increasing number of board surfers on the island has also helped to make the water safer. But the Quiksilver series, which last year saw three well-organised surf carnivals at Kalim, Kamala and Kata, has not returned in 2010. The speedy departure of Quiksilver sponsorship has left the local surf community unprepared to organise a replacement series.

''Island surfers who want to compete are back where they were 15 years ago,'' Mr Remmers said.
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Comments

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The Quiksilver series has been altered to a five-day festival in September... in stead of three separate competitions. Look at the phuket boardriders website for more info about the surf competition. And surfers always look out for swimmers in need. Better equipped and trained lifeguards and better staffed beaches is a must for such a prime tourist destination.

Posted by clubbie on May 28, 2010 13:08

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Thanks to Clubbie for the correct information. Quiksilver has always been and still supports our local surfer community. Thank you to Phuketwan for a chance to raise an awareness about our surf competitions. Kindly visit our website at phuketboardriders.com in the future for any information you may need about surfing in Phuket.

Posted by Phuket Boardriders Club on May 29, 2010 09:53

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Bang Tao Beach has a confusing array of flags depending on what hotel you are in front of. The public access way near the Dusit has had the same ripped up, half yellow/half red flag flying for two months, way before the beginning of the dangerous west winds arrived.

Seems tourists should simply be warned, "Thailand does not adhere to western standards of safety in airline regulation, beach safety, driving habits, sidewalks, electrical wires, etc., etc.,etc...''

But then money might be lost.

Posted by MustavaMond on May 30, 2010 10:01

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What about jellyfish???????????

Editor: Very unlikely in surf

Posted by Anonymous on June 9, 2010 16:31


Monday July 6, 2020
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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