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The body of the young tourist on the sand at Phuket's Karon beach  today

Phuket Tourist Drowns at Karon As Phuket Monsoon Beach Toll Mounts

Wednesday, May 30, 2012
PHUKET: A Russian tourist drowned at Phuket's Karon beach about 1pm today - on the third day after lifeguards returned to Phuket's popular west holiday coast.

Phuket's image as a year-round beach holiday destination is marred each year in the monsoon season by tourist drownings.

The Russian man celebrated his 33rd birthday on Monday.

He went to Karon beach today with two friends from the neighboring beach destination of Patong, where they were staying at the Sunsert Mansion.

After ordering drinks on the beach, the men disregarded red flags flying on the beach and went for a swim - into a spot where a deadly ''fixed rip'' is a known killer.

Authorities try to warn people about the dangers of swimming at this time of the year, yet some visitors ignore signs and insist on enjoying their paid-for beach holiday.

Karon, mostly a tranquil beach between November and April, continues to claim tourists from May to October - whether or not the lifeguards are on duty.

Lifeguards who performed CPR on the man today came to the conclusion he had been drinking alcohol.

The location of the two deadly ''fixed rips'' on Karon beach has been pointed out to authorities, yet tourists still swim and drown in those spots.

The man's body is now in Vachira Phuket Hospital, in Phuket City. Two Frenchmen drowned within the space of three days earlier this month on Phuket's west coast beaches, one at Freedom beach, south of Patong, the other at Karon.

Mutil-language posters warning of the dangers are being printed but have yet to be erected.

Needless drownings are likely to continue just as long as the monsoon season is promoted as ''summer'' on Phuket and resorts on Phuket's west coast fail to properly warn their guests.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


If this is known, why not use some floatation devices to stop people from entering it or put some buoys in the sea, so if people do get in to trouble, they maybe able to hold on to one of these devices until being rescued.

Posted by Tbs on May 30, 2012 14:42


@TBS how about they don't go in at all when red danger flags are clearly displayed. I look forward to watching you demonstrate in person this marvel in front of world lifesaving authorities and media how you grab a flotation buoy in a ferocious undertow current.

Posted by traveller on May 30, 2012 15:33


Only a fool does not fear the Sea...

Posted by Bjarne on May 30, 2012 16:07


i saw this today tragic... life is cheap in phuket :(

Posted by poppops on May 30, 2012 16:48


@traveller...a "rip" is not an undertow, check the webs sites, and as for ferocious, no, dangerous yes, rips simply carry you out to sea, they DO NOT drag you under, fools swimming against rips become exhausted and this can lead to drowning, info on dealing with rips is available on the web, there is one site a drop down box gives access to many languages, including Thai...might be an idea to give it to the local authorities.

Posted by Laurie Howells on May 30, 2012 17:07


Bottom flags were flying! If people think they are better than that and choose to challenge the warning, then whatever happens, will happen...tragic today, yes...but at 33 yrs old, you would think one would know how to be responsible and use common sense. It's too bad he died but I don't feel sorry for the poor decision he used..........Stay out of the water when the red flags are up!!!..its that simple.

Posted by sky on May 30, 2012 18:08

Editor Comment:

If only it was as simple as that. We may never know whether he saw a red flag or knew if he saw one that the red flag meant ''Don't swim.''


As an Ironman Australia and Kona I can tell you that Karon Beach has a special deadly quality to it. That is it lacks a gradual deepening under your feet and the sand allows you to slide into deep water within a second of reaching the point of no return a point that may be less than half your height under high wave conditions visiting tourists don't know this and red flags with people all up and down the Beach in the surf only adds to the chances someone will die. There is only one way to be somewhat safe Karon beach must be closed when the waves reach one meter in height. Kata Beach is safer but still when waves are over one meter high sections of it should be closed as well. Put 100 lifeguards on Karon Beach and people will still die when the waves are up if you are allowing people to go into the surf, it's that simple.

Posted by mike on May 31, 2012 11:15


Just a thought, most people, from Australia, understand the red flag means Do Not Enter the Water, however, in the US it means Hazardous, so I am wondering what it means in other countries and maybe in some countries, they do have flags, therefore, maybe some tourist have NO idea about the meaning of flags, maybe their country doesn't have (bit like Phuket a few days back), what does the red flag mean here in Phuket.

Posted by Laurie Howells on May 31, 2012 19:45

Editor Comment:

If you come from a landlocked part of the world, where there are no beaches, the flags have no meaning. That's why an explanation needs to be given at every resort check-in, in an appropriate language, every time. I would quit worrying about Americans and Australians, Laurie.


Most of these tourists come on a package holiday and should be told by the tourist agent in their own language what the red flag means

Posted by mal on June 1, 2012 12:54


I was down on Karon Beach today and saw many multilingual signs warning people to keep of out of the obviously murderous surf.

Posted by Sam W on June 1, 2012 21:11


Everyone drinking alcohol takes the risk of dying or even killing others. Did he know, what he was drinking? If he knew, it was his own fault.

Posted by Anonymous on June 1, 2012 23:51


Your last paragraph says it all. STOP promoting the monsoon season as 'summer' season. Imagine paying to fly long haul, to then be told, admire and enjoy our beaches but don't go into the sea!

I made a brief stopover in Karon last weekend and the sea (strong surf) was full of tourists ignoring all warnings. Even lifeguards cannot save these people.

Posted by Logic on June 12, 2012 16:14

Monday May 20, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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