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Progress is being made but Phuket still needs a proper warning system

Phuket Drowning Plunges Friends into Mourning

Thursday, June 17, 2010
A SMALL community in Britain has been plunged into mourning by the drowning of a young tourist at a Phuket beach. The young woman had been enjoying ''the trip of a lifetime'' before embarking on further education, a local newspaper reported.

The safety of swimmers on Phuket is likely to be raised at the next meeting of honorary consuls and embassy representatives with Phuket's governor. The quarterly gatherings have become an important forum for the discussion of all issues that affect expats, tourists and Phuket's Thai community.

Rebecca Callaghan, aged 21, of Bengeworth, died on Saturday at Phuket's Karon beach, which has become notorious for transforming from a safe place to swim during high season to perhaps the island's most dangerous beach between April and October.

Miss Callaghan, a keen photographer, was set to start a degree in animal welfare at Chester University in September after three months in Thailand, Australia and Indonesia, the Worcester News reported.

Her boyfriend Ian had ''flown out to be with her last Thursday and was with her at the time of the tragedy. He was set to return home yesterday,'' the newspaper said.

Miss Callaghan's body is expected to be returned to Britain this week. Meanwhile, talks are continuing on Phuket about ways that similar tragedies can be prevented.

Phuket's honorary British consul, Martin Carpenter, has called for greater awareness of the dangers to be generated by local authorities, the media and resorts. His concerns are likely to be echoed at the meeting with Governor Wichai Praisa-ngob, which is scheduled for August.

Jayne MacDougall, Director of Risk Management and Loss Prevention at Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort, believes that while last weekend's drowning was tragic, the situation is improving.

''Lifeguards were in place,'' she said. ''It is believed they warned the couple against going in. They also managed to retrieve the woman from the water quickly.''

What was also important, she said, was that resuscitation was started immediately and it continued until an ambulance arrived, quite speedily.

''The young lady would have had zero chance without that cpr process,'' she said. ''Even though the battle was lost, there were some positive signs.''

The central issue remains awareness and an effective warning system that will deter everyone from swimming in the wrong places at the wrong time of year. Local authorities still need to adapt the current annual tendering system so that training, skills and equipment are not lost and can continue to improve each year.

Representatives from the US, China, Japan and other nations are expected to be invited to the next meeting of Phuket's honorary consuls, expanding it into the equivalent of a ''mini-UN'' for Phuket.

The deficiencies of the island's public transport system, highlighted at the weekend by a blockade of US Navy personnel by local taxi drivers, is again expected to be top of the list of topics.
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Comments have been disabled for this article.


not a good idea to go into the water even when the life guards tell you not too swim...what a shame...

life guards on Nai Harn Beach doing a great job as i witnessed and assisted in 10 rescues on that beach the other day..

very dangerous conditions at the moment

Posted by jimmy b on June 17, 2010 18:40


This is again a sad tragedy but still improvements can be made though. First of all, most of the people do not listen to the warnings made by the beach lifeguards who are working on those beaches all year around and do know how dangerous they are.

I am a Phuket resident since 15 years and i have witnessed many situations like that. Another thing that could help: I still do not understand why there is no first aid antenna, one on each beach, using a doctor or a pharmacy shop with the minimum of first aid service. In any case of drowning, although the alert is quickly sent to a hospital, the ambulance still need 20 minutes to reach the place of tragedy. If an emergency antenna is set nearby, first aid could be given quickly while waiting the ambulance and certainly saving some life.

It might cost money, but what is money compare to the life of visitors...and i am certain that the money for tsunami is not all spend yet but rather working in the bank.

Posted by Jay on June 18, 2010 13:27

Sunday August 1, 2021
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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