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The flag flying near the spot where three tourists have drowned at Patong

Phuket Tourist Drowns at Deadly Spot on Patong Beach: He's Victim No. 8

Tuesday, July 24, 2012
UPDATE

The man who drowned at Patong beach is Peter John Cook, 47, a spokesperson at the British Embassy confirmed on Wednesday. His family has been notified.

Original Report

PHUKET: A British tourist drowned today at Patong beach near a spot where two other people - one American and one Chinese - have drowned in the past few weeks.

Today's drowning came before 8.30am, when Patong lifeguards usually start patrols.

The death of the British man today raised to eight the number of drownings on Phuket's west coast beaches since May 18.

Four of those deaths have occurred at Patong beach, three close to the intersection of Soi Chaloem Phrakiat and Thaweewong Road, the beach road.

The British man who drowned today is believed to have been staying at the same Patong three-star resort as American university student Joshua Shane, 21, who drowned on June 12.

His death was followed on June 30 by the drowning of Chinese tourist Tinqi Li, 19, near the same spot on Patong beach.

Phuketwan visited the spot on Patong beach on Saturday and could only find a red ''danger'' flag flying back from the water's edge, with swimmers in the water.

Patong beach, like neighboring Karon beach, develops what are known as rips - currents that strengthen during the May-October monsoon season and drag people out to sea.

A spokesperson at the three-star resort where the British man and the previous American victim were staying confirmed today that it was the second death among guests at the resort in the space of two months.

''It happened on the beach,'' the man said. ''It is outside of the resort and outside of our control.''

He was surprised to learn that there had been three drownings close to the same spot on Patong beach.

Although lifeguards have pleaded for all resorts to warn guests about the dangers on Phuket beaches, many resorts continue to ignore their pleas.

All three drownings near the spot on Patong beach have taken place outside lifeguard patrol hours - today's death in the early morning and the previous two drownings after sunset.

Phuket's lifeguards are overwhelmed by the number of tourists who choose to swim even when red warning flags are flying.

They say they need the help of resorts and authorities to make sure swimmers realise their lives are at risk.

One resort where guests are warned about swimming on the beaches suggests that guests are told on check-in: ''We've got a great swimming pool here. Please use it. Swim at the beach when the red flags are flying, and you'll die.''

The high number of drownings on Phuket is expected to be raised as an urgent topic when resort managements meet at Phuket Graceland Beach Resort and Spa on August 17 to discuss the safety and security of tourists on Phuket.

The body of the British man is at Patong Hospital.

Drownings on Phuket May 18-July 24


July 24 A British tourist drowns at Patong beach on an early morning swim, the third recent death near the same spot on Patong beach in the space of a few weeks.

June 30 Chinese tourist Tinqi Li, 19, drowns while swimming at night at Patong. A jet-ski rider finds him and pulls him back to shore but cpr fails to revive him.

June 19 Unidentified Western man drowns at Nai Harn as red flags fly. Two Chinese tourists, a man and a woman, are rescued. The man is later identified as Rasmus Beyemann, 72, a Dane who had been living on Phuket for five years.

June 12 American university student Joshua Shane, 21, goes missing at Patong on a late-night swim with friends. His body is found on June 14. Another swimmer requires hospital treatment.

June 8 A tourist from Egypt and a tourist from Kuwait, visiting Phuket, go on a whitewater adventure tour north of Phuket with friends. The friends are rescued when a monsoon-boosted stream overturns their raft. The two men drown.

June 2 A young Thai visitor from Bangkok, Austatiwood Prommarat, 18, disappears into the surf at Patong after he and a relative allegedly hang their shirts on a warning red flag before going into the water. The relative is rescued.

May 31 An American kite surfer collapses in the shallows at Nai Harn, Phuket's most southerly beach, and dies soon after. His death may not have been a drowning but possibly a heart attack.

May 30 Russian tourist Denis Korobogatov, 33, appears to be caught by a ''rip'' tide at Karon beach and is dragged to his death.

May 27 Phuket's lifeguards, absent from Phuket beaches for seven weeks because of a contractual dispute, return to daily patrols of Phuket's 13 most popular west coast beaches.

May 20 On a day's outing to difficult-to-access Freedom Beach, between Patong and Karon, Frenchman Stephane Dacosta, 32, disappears into the water. He washes ashore at nearby Kata beach a day later.

May 18 With lifeguards absent from all of Phuket's beaches, Angelo Piazza, 53, disappears into the surf at Karon beach, south of Patong, and drowns.

The figure of eight beach drownings on Phuket between May 18 and July 24 contrasts with just five drownings recorded for the whole of Phuket - including deaths in ponds and canals as well as beaches - in the first four months of the year.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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So the hotel where Joshua Shane was staying AGAIN has failed in its duty to warn tourists staying there, following the death of another one of it guests, yesterday, 24 July 2012.

Warn people hotel staff please, your jobs and salaries are on the line here. No tourists means no work and no pay for you.

Posted by Dun on July 25, 2012 07:14

Editor Comment:

Some resorts continue to entice tourists to Phuket for beach holidays between May and October, yet see their duty of care ending at the front door. Drownings will continue to occur in frightening numbers as long as these resorts maintain this attitude.

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I was talking to a British guy at Nai Harn beach a few weeks ago. He was staying in Karon. I told him to stay out of the water there because many people are drowning there. Also to be careful at Nai Harn beach, as the water can get pretty dangerous this time of the year. He said the hotel he was staying at did warn him about Karon beach and that is why he was at Nai Harn. So I guess some hotels are doing the right thing.

Posted by Matt on July 25, 2012 09:20

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"So the hotel where Joshua Shane was staying AGAIN has failed in its duty to warn tourists staying there,"

Yes, that could be what happened, or he could have ignored the warnings. We don't know so should preserve our judgement.

Posted by stevenl on July 25, 2012 10:21

Editor Comment:

The spokesperson at the hotel said they do not warn their guests. Two deaths of guests will hopefully change that policy.

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Why are other beach destinations in the world able to do a better job and NOT those here in Phuket? Look at Bondi (OZ), Big Sur (Hawiai), South Beach (Miami), all the beaches in California. None have the statistics that Phuket have. I usually have brekkie( after 10am) on the beach in Patong near the jet ski blokes and NEVER have i seen lifeguards in their tower there. That's more than 10yrs and never have I seen anyone doing their job.
people are dying due to apathy and corruption. Pathetic.

Posted by Tom on July 25, 2012 12:34

Editor Comment:

Tom, There were three drownings at Patong beach at times when lifeguards were not on duty, one drowning at another beach where there are no lifeguards, and one at a popular beach while the lifeguards were not operating because of contract negotiations. The message is that resorts need to tell guests of the dangers. The lifeguards are doing a pretty good job.

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"The spokesperson at the hotel said they do not warn their guests...." phuketwan, is it too much asking you the name of such hotel ? I'be been working in the tourism business since 2004 and I want my European partners to know which hotels are taking tourist safety seriously.

Posted by cekipa on July 25, 2012 16:30

Editor Comment:

The ones that tell their guests on check-in and have signs in the foyer indicating beach dangers are taking safety seriously.

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I took one look at the waves in Kerala and thought 'no way am I going in there'.

These people are not 'victims' they're bloody idiots and I don't see why ANYONE should have to risk their lives to save them.

Note: There ARE red flags all along the beach, but they just think 'Well, I'm on my holiday'. Up To Them.

Posted by tamsin on July 25, 2012 19:25

Editor Comment:

There are not red flags ''all along the beach''. The flags are placed at most Phuket beaches on a daily basis, depending on conditions. Kerala has nothing to do with it. It's a pity you choose not to become better informed about the issue. Your attitude on this and other comments shows that you have a liking for cuddly creatures that apparently does not extend to your fellow human beings. That's sad for them, and for you.

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@ Tom

Sure this is just semantics but last time I was there, Big Sur was firmly on the CA 1 and about 2500 miles away from Hawai'i.

It's a forest reserve, not many beaches there so I guess that might have something to do with not many people drowning. Closest beach is a mighty winding drive away.

Posted by Andrew on July 25, 2012 19:44

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WHY DO YOU THEN AS THE MEDIA NOT NAME THE SOCALLED SPOT TO PREVENT FURTHER LOSS OF LIVES? Are you now also in cahoots with TAT and the Government to protect the MONEY in Phuket and not lives? THE TRUTH AND PUBLISHING IT should take TOP Priority! TOO MANY COVER UPS FOR too many REASON LATELY IN
THAILAND - SAVING face MUST NOW TAKE A BACK GROUND OR IT IS GOING TO BOOMERANG
ON PHUKET /PATTAYA AND THAILAND WHICH IS GETTING NOW UNSAFE AND DANGEROUS !

Posted by Yvonne on July 27, 2012 02:26

Editor Comment:

We have named the spot. As the article says: ''Four of those deaths have occurred at Patong beach, three close to the intersection of Soi Chaloem Phrakiat and Thaweewong Road, the beach road.'' As an expert on Phuket, you will know precisely where that is.

We're not in cahoots with anyone, but especially not with venerable travel agents who find plenty to criticise in everyone else but take little or no responsibility.

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@Yvonne; stop shouting; The Ed is correct; read the article with your eyes open. The Hotels should have warning signs for the guests when the sea is dangerous for their guests.

Posted by Mal on July 28, 2012 10:04

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I like Pattaya area red flags and warnings better their red flags say not to enter the water. When you tell people to just not swim what your really saying is that going into the water is OK today but just don't swim. This actually sets them up to be swept away while playing in the surf as so many people do during red flag days. Change the campain from no swiming to stay out of the water that would be a first step in the right direction.

Posted by mike on July 29, 2012 11:28

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I am a frequent visitor to Phuket and a friend of Peter Cook who drowned in Patong. Peter died saving his two eldest children from a similar fate. He was a brave and honorable man who is no longer with us. I agree with Mike that the flags should be changed to read stay out of the water as the children were walking by the waters edge and dragged out by a large wave. I also agree with earlier comments that Phuket needs a multi layered approach (involving AIrlines, Hotels and other interested parties) warning visitors of the dangers of the sea from May to October. I also agree that where there are lifeguards they do a good job. How do we go about trying to make this happen? I would be happy to be involved.

Posted by Simon on July 31, 2012 06:40

Editor Comment:

Local authorities and resort managements must be persuaded that several layers of warnings are necessary. The issue is still being covered up and ignored by some. Everybody connected with tourism has a duty of care when it comes to Phuket's beaches. The known places on the beaches where there is constant danger from ''rips'' must be identified more clearly. Flags work well on Australian beaches where there are no loungers and umbrellas, but will probably remain ineffective amid the chaos of vendors, national flags, jet-skis, and parasails at Phuket's beaches. Warnings in the air, in person on check-in and via signs at lobby entrances are essential. Best make your views known to the Ambassadors of Britain, the US and France, where half of this season's victims have come from.

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We swim at Kata every day. There are some safe areas and some bad rip areas.

The life guards could do a better job. For example, in India, if you are in an unsafe area, the life guards at tourist beaches walk up to the water's edge and blow a whistle and motion to move you to a safer area.

Here, there are red flags and many people wading and swimming right at those places.

Posted by RI on July 31, 2012 11:52

Editor Comment:

The scale of numbers of swimmers who ignore the flags has overwhelmed lifeguards on Phuket. This is why the help of all resorts is needed to give guests a complete understanding of the risks. I've seen swimmers ignore whistle-blowing lifeguards - just hours after a drowning.

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Can someone answer a very simple question, if tourists ignore the lifeguards what makes you think they will take ANY notice of resort staff, inflight videos etc...

Posted by Apple on July 31, 2012 18:00

Editor Comment:

Because once a person changes into their swimming costume and heads for the beach, they're in a totally different frame of mind. Best to tell them often before they hit the sand determined to have the holiday swim that they'e paid to have. The grasp of English and other languages is also better in resorts than among lifeguards on the beach. And if someone at check-in tells you in person: ''Look, no need to be alarmed, but do be careful that you follow instructions and swim on the beach only when it's safe, otherwise you're gonna drown'' there's a good chance the information will be absorbed. If nobody says boo, the drownings will keep on happening.

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It happened to me in 2009 on surin beach. Rip tide. Was lucky to escape. The trick is : don't panic or try fighting the current, instead let yourself go, swim towards left or right to escape this deadly corridor, then try swim back.

Posted by Loxias on July 26, 2013 20:21


Saturday June 6, 2020
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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