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An international driving licence photo of Denis Lipatov

UPDATE Phuket Marine Hunter Dives, Dies on Day Off

Sunday, September 29, 2013

PHUKET: Phuket diving instructor Denis Lipatov died on Saturday while speafishing off Racha Noi island, a friend said today.

''He went in with a speargun and disappeared,'' the friend said. ''An hour later, they found his body.''

Mr Lipatov, 39, a Russian, had been running Sedoff excursions for about a decade, the friend said, using rented boats and working as a qualified PADI diving instructor.

''He had recently discovered free diving,'' the friend said. ''So he could have tried to go too deep or simply blacked out underwater because of some other medical condition.''

It was Mr Lipatov's day off and he was enjoying an outing with friends off Racha Noi, which sits with Racha Yai about 40 minutes south of Phuket by speedboat.

Earlier reports incorrectly attributed Mr Lipatov's death to a drowning while swimming.

Original Report

PHUKET: A Russian man has become the latest person to drown at Racha island, a popular holiday spot off Phuket.

Officers from Phuket's Chalong Police Station went with Ruamjai Phuket Foundation paramedics took the short speedboat trip to Racha about 6.45pm.

They were told that the man, named as Denis Lipatov, 39, ignored red flags and two-metre high waves to swim.

Local beach guards pulled Mr Lipatov from the water after he got into difficulties but were unable to revive him.

At first thought to be a tourist, Mr Lipatov was later reported by a Phuket dive shop owner to be a PADI Instructor who had a dive business in Phuket for more than 10 years.

''For many years he was bringing us a lot of Russians for buying diving equipment, dive training and divers for fun dives,'' said the shop owner, who prefers to remain anonymous.

Mr Lipatov occasionally bent the rules, the shop owner said, in taking beginners on deeper dives.

He is believed to be the 26th person to drown on Phuket's beaches so far this year. Most of the recent victims at Racha have been Chinese visitors.

An increase in the number of tourists who have drowned so far on Phuket in 2013 is being attributed to an increase in the number of visitors from countries where water safety is not well understood and people are not strong swimmers.

Phuket's lifeguards and expat water experts say a more comprehensive warning system is required to deter people from swimming on days when its too dangerous.

Phuket's Public Health department stopped issuing monthly updates on the tally of drownings and road toll victims in April 2012 and have yet to provide the annual figures for last year.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


2 m waves and you go swim ?
Red flag and you go swim ?

were you looking for "no limit" experience...


Posted by serge on September 29, 2013 11:11


You could only prevent drownings if all Beaches on Phuket are fenced off with razor wire on bad days and even then some people will ignore it and swim.
This man's death is another tragedy that can be laid at the foot of what I call the Immortal Syndrome which seems to infect people on holidays. Like the man who went swimming here in Croc infested waters after being told that swimming was deadly.
Some people cannot be warned.
Sad outcome but he made a decision against the best advice and has now paid for that decision.

Posted by Arthur on September 29, 2013 17:19

Editor Comment:

There is no clear information yet about the precise details of this drowning. As he was a local dive instructor, his death falls into a different category to tourist deaths. There are ways of preventing needless deaths, but the first point in improving safety is to never take it for granted that ''accidents will happen.'' The more warnings, the better.


I agree ED that there cannot be enough warnings but even then people are going to ignore them.
Not a year seems to go by in eastern Australia that we have a mass rescue because people insist they know better than the life guards.

Posted by Arthur on September 29, 2013 23:35

Editor Comment:

Better to find solutions than accept it as ''natural,'' Arthur.


Arthur - if Australian lifeguards were more professional people might take them seriously.

My own experience, on a first visit to Australia a few years back was they were total dicks.

I asked about what dangers there might be in the water - they told me about "purple people eaters" in there and had enormous fun in their own little coterie that a foreign tourist should need to ask.

And I was just your average level headed bloke staying in a 1200 aus/night at the Park Hyatt trying to work our what the local risks might be, not a PADI instructor.

Posted by Barry on September 30, 2013 05:50


Denis died whilst Free Diving off Racha Noi. he was a very experienced technical diver who had just started Free Diving and got into some difficulty on a recreational trip.Tragic accident. RIP Denis.

Posted by GazB on September 30, 2013 06:26

Editor Comment:

The article was written on the basis of information supplied by locals. If he was pulled from the sea wearing just swim trunks, people may have jumped to the wrong conclusions. Please email me with any contacts you have.


Arthur, I have a problem with what you say, you, as an Australian, should know that all "mass" rescues are not caused by ignorant people, but by people being caught in rips that suddenly appear at very popular beaches and most drowning's seem to be from Indian and Chinese tourists, some affected by alcohol. Your comment is very misleading.

Barry, how can you label all lifeguards, some, if not the most, professional in the world, as "total dicks" this would be the same as me saying all your family and friends are "total dicks" because they are associated with you. You comment is ridiculous, based on ONE bad experience, which may or may not be correct, in fact the comment could have been an attempt at humor. Maybe something you are lacking.

Posted by DSI Watcher on September 30, 2013 09:43

Editor Comment:

Aussie lifesavers are handy to have around when you need them but it's quite possible to imagine a few being ''total dicks'' once in a while, as Barry suggested. Unless everyone sees the joke, humor in response to a serious question is not funny.


Ed, I fully agree but Barry's comment tarred all lifesavers as "dicks" and this is completely wrong, in all walks of life there are "dicks" but only a non thinking person would label every one, in any profession, as "dicks" because of the action of one, and this is the point I am trying to make. Besides, we have only Barry's word that the comment was made seriously, most English speaking people would have seen it as jest... after all, have you ever seen a "purple people eater?" I also wonder at the type of person Barry is, who needs to brag about staying in a $1200 a night room at the Park Hyatt, seems he is a very "sensitive, delicate" person...I'll get some flak now.

Posted by DSI Watcher on September 30, 2013 11:39

Wednesday October 27, 2021
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