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Would-be rescuers put a jet-ski to sea yesterday from Karon beach

UPDATE Korean Tourist Missing, Feared Drowned, at Phuket Beach

Thursday, August 13, 2015
UPDATING All Day, Every Day

Karon Rescue and the Royal Thai Navy were continuing a search on Thursday for a man named as Seo Seungin, 45, who was staying at the Kata Noi resort with a female companion.

Original Report

PHUKET: A Korean tourist is missing, feared drowned, at Phuket's small, exclusive Kata Noi beach, police confirmed today.

''I was called to the Katathani Phuket Beach Resort about 5pm yesterday,'' said Lieutenant Santichai Srimai, of Karon Police Station.

''Staff there confirmed that one of their guests had gone swimming but had not returned to the beach.''

Little more is known at this stage about the circumstances of the man's disappearance.

It's also not clear whether a sea search is being mounted today for the missing Korean man, who is aged about 30.

The Phuket Lifeguard Service handed over care of swimmers at Kata Noi to the Katathani from June 20 under an innovative deal that put more lifeguards on two beaches.

The Lifeguard Service was able to redeploy its five Kata Noi lifeguards to strengthen patrols at Karon beach.

The resort said in its arrangement with the Phuket Provincial Administrative Organisation that it would station eight lifeguards on Kata Noi, with patrols operating between 9am-7pm.

Lieutenant Santichai told Phuketwan he would be returning to the resort this morning to interview staff and others about the case.

He did not know whether the man was a solo traveller or holidaying with others.

A guest who recently stayed at Katathani told Phuketwan today: ''For the system to work there needs to be dedicated swimming areas at various points along the beach that are enforced.

''People just jump in and swim anywhere.''

At other Phuket beaches, the safe, patrolled areas are clearly marked by red and yellow SWIM HERE flags. Unsafe areas are usually marked with red flags on danger days.

A senior manager at the Katathani said today he had not been informed about the missing guest.

Fewer deaths have been reported at Phuket beaches so far in 2015 than in previous years.

The reduction in drownings is attributed to more comprehensive warnings and the improving skills of Phuket's lifeguards.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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I remember about 10 years ago I got sucked out at Surin beach in the monsoon. I used to swim 1km everyday so was pretty fit. It took me 30-45 minutes to get in again about 300 meters further down the beach. Only my experience in the surf and fitness saved me from drowning. These Chinese, Koreans and other Asian people who can't really swim have no real chance unless somebody pulls them out.

Being older and not as fit I doubt I'd risk going out too far at beaches like Karon, Surin etc in monsoon conditions. Surin is very deceptive with a deep slope and you can be in waist deep water and one more step your in over your head. Bang-Tao and Layan are man made beaches, it is dredged sand and still very soft, in monsoon it can be very dangerous. I've been there many times and I just don't go in as I know how dangerous it is.

Many of these people have no chance if they get into trouble as they panic and are exhausted in minutes. Lifeguards must be around to watch them as many are just clueless about the dangers they face.

Phuket authorities must stop dragging their feet and commit to life guard training and buy them the best modern equipment for use.

Aussies lead the way in life-saving, I'm sure people from Oz would help if asked. Thai leaders need to drop the facing saving and invite in our experts for training and advice. I won't hold me breath waiting though.

Posted by Arun Muruga on August 13, 2015 10:49

Editor Comment:

It should also be understood by the resort that lifeguard patrols focussed on a small, safe section of beach are more effective. Patrolling a whole beach is something nobody attempts. The risks are too great. What a tragedy that the proven techniques were not adopted in the first place.

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"The reduction in drownings is attributed to more comprehensive warnings and the improving skills of Phuket's lifeguards."

Attributed by whom? Are there any statistics on rescues by lifeguards? It could just be less severe sea conditions this year etc.

Posted by Elephants Gerald on August 13, 2015 10:59

Editor Comment:

I don't have time to debate issues, EG. Let me assure you that in most cases, the improvements are self-evident. The days when we had six drownings in the space of eight days are gone. All deaths, though, remain needless tragedies.

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Well in Australia they set up flags and you must swim between them as that is the patrolled area under close observation.

Your given a warning if you are outside of the flags and told to get in sight of the life guards. You need firm experienced people on the beach to keep people in line.

Posted by Arun Muruga on August 13, 2015 13:29


Saturday October 23, 2021
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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