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Vice Admiral Supot Pruksa: Plan for island helicopter landing pads

Phuket to Get Weather, Tsunami Radar System

Wednesday, March 10, 2010
WEATHER warnings for offshore sailing could soon be improved for Phuket and the Andaman coast with the installation of a new 200 million baht radar system, a seminar was told this week.

The radar set-up could also help to warn of future tsunamis. The radar can read the height and speed of the waves.

Chairman of the Thailand Warning System, Dr Smith Dharmasaroj, told the gathering of local officials at Phuket Provincial Hall: ''This system can work very well and has been successful in many countries already.

''For a tourist destination like Phuket, this system is ideal.''

A decision is to be made before July on whether the Phuket radar will go on the southernmost tip at Promthep Cape or Moo Six in Kho Daeng, a hilltop in nearby Rawai.

Six radar monitors would be installed in appropriate place along the Andaman coast with another 14 stations for checking the weather.

The radar would give at least 15 minutes' warning of a tsunami, Dr Smith said.

Questions have been asked about the adequacy of Phuket weather warnings to vessels at sea since the sinking of the Asia Dive 1 with the loss of seven lives one year ago.

The Director of Marine Metrological Center, Dr.Wattana Kanbua, said that Thailand's capacity to forecast chages was not as good as it should be. '

'This radar can tell people what weather is coming with great certainty,'' he said.

Experts from Norway and Britain are involved in helping Thai officials to conduct a survey to find the right installation points on Phuket and along the Andaman.

The Royal Thai Navy has also resurrected a plan to create helicopter landing pad zones on popular island destinations off Phuket.

The idea has the backing of Captain Rangsarit Sattayanukul of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who raised it with officials from local authorities of Phuket and Phang Nga at a meeting at the Royal Phuket City Hotel yesterday.

In his two-year term in command of Thai Navy Three, which oversees the region, Vice Admiral Supot Pruksa, who retired in 2008, tried to instigate a plan for helicopter pads on outlying islands.

His idea was simple: to be prepared in the event of a problem involving safety at sea to make rescue easier.

His plan for the helicopter pads sprang from a personal tragedy.

His nephew, as a young man on a navy exercise, died for want of assistance in tragic circumstances where the weather prevented his rescue by boat.

A helicopter pad may have saved his life.

Vice Admiral Supot still believes that the Similan Islands and Surin Island need helicopter pads as a precaution for when seafarers, especially tourists, get into trouble.

The environmentalists in charge of the marine park have so far rejected the landing pad concept, despite the credentials of the Navy as an environmentally sensitive organisation, especially in its work with turtles along the Andaman coastline.

Yesterday's meeting also involved a visit to Patong where the Navy has a beachfront centre but needs more equipment.
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Comments have been disabled for this article.


Another multi million baht contract that may or may not offer benefits. I mean, a whole 15 minutes warning of a tsunami, it would take a lot longer than that for those monitoring the system to make a decision to issue a warning. Meanwhile, the beaches remain unguarded and many more will perish.

Posted by Bernie on March 10, 2010 14:51


We already have a Rain Radar in Phuket at the airport that can be accessed by Internet. This gives 120 and 240 Km ranges updated every 30 minutes. As tsunami waves are only about one meter high in the ocean and traveling at about 700 km/hour it does not seem possible to get 15 min warning.

A radar situated 100 meters above sea level has an effective straight line range of about 45 km which would give less the 5 min warning if the wave was identified instantly. A satellite system would seem to offer a better solution.

Posted by JB on March 10, 2010 17:58


Radar for tsunamai waves that may only be a few centimeters in deep water?
Just another ridiculous Pork Project like the failed GT200 bomb sniffer.
Follow the money Phuket Wan Follow the money

Posted by Ex Ex Pat on March 11, 2010 11:26

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