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Tourists try to save tourists on the beach at Ao Nang late today

UPDATE Two Tourists Drown in Storm Off Krabi: Life Vests Not Being Worn

Sunday, October 5, 2014
Updating All Day, Every Day

BOAT DRIVER Ekkapong Kinglek, 25, will be charged over the deaths and could face up to 10 years in jail, say Krabi police.

Original Report

PHUKET: Two tourists drowned when a traditional longtail boat was tipped over by a storm off the mainland of Krabi province in Thailand today.

Officials at Krabi's Chao Fa Rescue Centre confirmed the deaths of two Indian tourists, a man and a woman, this afternoon.

The couple were returning from a popular coastal holiday spot, Railey, that can only be reached by boat.

The pair were not wearing life vests. The captain of the longtail boat was being questioned by police late today.

With the drowning of a Belgian tourist who fell off a boat while travelling between Koh Tao and Koh Phangan earlier in the day, Sunday's tourist drowning toll for Thailand stood at three.

Officials from the Chao Fa Krabi Rescue Centre were alerted to the tourists being in the water by a call from another boat nearby. It took 40 minutes to reach the scene.

On Ao Nang beach, rescuers tried to revive the tourists using cardiopulmonary resuscitation, but the Indians did not recover.

Their bodies were taken to Krabi Hospital.

A storm with strong winds lashed Krabi, Phang Nga and Phuket today with small boats being warned that it was unsafe to put to sea.

In Thailand, it's left up to individual captains to decide whether to put to sea. Often, if there are paid-for bookings, some captains will venture out regardless of weather forecasts.

The deaths today off Ao Nang come as officials in the tourism industry seek to persuade visitors that Thailand remains safe following the brutal murders of British tourists David Miller, 24, and Hannah Witheridge, 23, on the island of Koh Tao on September 15.

A Belgian tourist fell off a boat and drowned today while travelling between Koh Tao and Koh Pangan. He was not wearing a life vest.

*Phuketwan is joining a one-day seminar on drowning at the invitation of the Wortld Health Organisation in Bangkok on Friday.

Comments

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These type of tour boating activities simply should not be allowed to take place during weather like this..Change the laws already..These "captains" obviously haven't a clue what they're doing

Posted by sky on October 5, 2014 18:40

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In 10 days, Similan and Surin Islands National Parks will be open to tourism and many dive liveaboard boats have pre-bookings from oversea (Europe, north-America) and will not cancel the trips in case of bad weather... that is sure 200%
Opening of marine National Parks in the Andaman Sea should be open only to day trippers until the beginning or middle of November and open to liveaboard bots in the middle of November.
same problem in april as DNP have changed the closure from 30 april to 15 May and everyone knows that the South-West monsoon start at the end of Aprils and some liveaboard boats sunk already on the end of April during storms.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on October 5, 2014 19:43

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" ... many dive liveaboard boats have pre-bookings from oversea (Europe, north-America) and will not cancel the trips in case of bad weather... that is sure 200%" - and that statement is 200% untrue and in other countries (I don't think Thailand)potentially libellous. I have friends in the Dive Business in both Khao Lak and Phuket, the two principal bases for liveaboard tours to the Similans and Surins and they place customer safety above financial considerations when faced with bad weather. This is especially so in the first two weeks in May and last two in October when, in their wisdom, the National Park Authorities have for the past few years chosen to open the Similans and Surins. If the weather is bad, they do not go and trups are cancelled or postponed. Indeed this is the case during the Dry Season when there are periods of dangerous ocean conditions. To suggest otherwise and implying that all operators are alike is not sustainable.

Posted by Alan on October 5, 2014 21:13

Editor Comment:

Liveaboards have been sunk in storms and not long ago, about 400 tourists were stranded offshore by severe bad weather. They all had to be rescued by a Royal Thai Navy warship. It appears some weather warnings are ignored. Individual ''captains'' are not all wise men. A proper warning system should be imposed.

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W.B.'s comment has nothing to do with the case. Here it is a longtail boat and not a 20+ meters dive boat, built for these kind of trips. He should not judge other serious operators but better mind his own boat and business. Charly don't surf...

Posted by Resident on October 5, 2014 22:27

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When do people learn to take care them self using lifewest at sea and helmets in traffic so we can avoid these tragic accidents. Dont blaim Thailand for this people just have to start using common sence and take better care of them self

Posted by Anonymous on October 5, 2014 23:56

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so this was 10-15minutes drive with a shuttle long-tail boat between Ao Nang and Railey?
actually people who stay at Railey goes all the time to Ao Nang and back , incl.in the evening for dinner or entertainment
never seen on that route a single life jacket, it actually operates as a kind of public bus in the sea
I think "non-suitable sea conditions" doesn't exist for those "captains"
moreover as WB mentioned many times that these "captains" lack any formal training and acknowledged qualification
would be even more interesting if these unlucky guys were Rayawadee patrons...
pronounced possible jail terms are quite long, that you make a graph , Wealth - How Serious The Crime Is - The Real Jail Time, remembering e.g. Santika Pub data
"captain" can indeed get 10yrs that in comparison with punishments in Santika's case would look as an abuse of justice; or to highlight the other way round

Posted by Sue on October 6, 2014 00:23

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There are 2 sides to this.

Quite a lot of operators, daytrip or liveaboard, do cancel when the forecast is not good, we have cancelled all trips and will probably start again on thursday e.g. Others have gone out in spite of the warnings.

Quite often the warnings are wrong and give a wrong impression, but any prudent divecenter or operator should have realised these last days that it was going to be bad and should have cancelled.

I really don't like the idea of somebody not allowing boats to go out, but the behaviour of some operators and divecenters is asking for measures like that.

Posted by stevenl on October 6, 2014 10:21


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