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Multilingual sign being placed on Phuket beaches by lifeguards. The lifeguards say once determined swimmers reach the beach, it's often too late

Phuket Tourist Drowns at Kata Beach: Call for Community Safety Campaign

Sunday, June 23, 2013
UPDATING All Day, Every Day

A 19-year-old from Koh Kaew who went on a seaside picnic with his family today is missing, presumed drowned at Phuket's Layan beach. If confirmed, his drowning would be Phuket's fourth at beaches in four days.

Original Report

PHUKET: A tourist from India drowned yesterday in heavy surf at Phuket's Kata beach. It was the third drowning on the island's holiday beaches in the space of three days.

The man, named as Ramesh Chand Singhal, 49, took a bodyboard into the surf for a swim about 5pm at Kata, according to a spokesperson for the Phuket Lifeguard Service.

Lifeguards later carried him from the water towards the northern end of the beach and attempted resuscitation but he died on the way to Patong Hospital.

His body is now in Vachira Phuket Hospital, Phuket City. The drowned man had been staying at the Holiday Inn Resort Phuket Mai Khao Beach.

Yesterday's drowning of the Indian man followed the drowning of a Belgian man at Laem Sing beach and a Russian man at Patong beach within an hour on Thursday.

On Tuesday, a Chinese tourist drowned on a day-trip from Phuket to Racha island. On Wednesday, a Chinese man was killed when struck by the propeller of a speedboat in Pileh Bay, near Phi Phi.

During the same monsoon onset last year, eight tourists drowned on Phuket's popular west coast beaches between mid-May and mid-July.

The Lifeguard Service, Phuketwan and more recently the Chinese Ambassador have made the point that repeated warnings are required to prevent needless deaths.

Despite last year's drowning tragedies, authorities on Phuket and many resort managements appear to have not reacted.

Other tourists have been rescued from the surf, including a Chinese couple who were saved at Karon beach on Friday and two Singaporeans plucked from the water at Surin beach yesterday.

The high number of needless drownings is likely to be a key issue when ambassadors from Europe, Australia and possibly China meet with the Minister for Tourism and Sport in Bangkok on Friday about Phuket safety and security.

The Chinese Ambassador, Guan Mu, met with Phuket officials on May 29 and made a straightforward plea for a more concerted effort to prevent the drownings.

A young Chinese tourist drowned on a day-trip to Pai island, off Phuket, the day before the ambassador visited Phuket.

A British man was found drowned on Patong beach on May 21, before lifeguards went on duty.

Until April least year, health officials on Phuket released regular monthly updates on the drownings and the road toll, two aspects of Phuket's lifestyle that claim an excessive number of tourist and expat lives.

No updates have been provided for the past 14 months. No total has been made public for drownings and road toll fatalities and injuries for Phuket for 2012.

In other countries, the provision of updated statistics is considered to be an essential factor in community efforts to reduce drownings and road fatalities.

Phuket's Shocking Monsoon Marine Death Toll 2013

June 22 Indian tourist Ramesh Chand Singhal, 49, goes into the surf at Kata with a bodyboard and drowns.

June 20 Two drownings within one hour as Belgian Laurent Jacques Leopold Wanter, 42, drowns at Laem Singh beach and Aleksande Poleshchenko, 29, drowns soon after at Patong beach.

June 19 Chinese tourist Chen Peng, 36, dies afterv being struck by a speedboat propeller in the water at scenic Pileh Bay, near Phi Phi.

June 18 Chinese tourist Ran Li, 23, drowns on a day-trip outing to Racha island.

June 14 Eighteen European envoys meet on Phuket and request more effort to improve marine and beach safety.

May 29 Chinese Ambassador Guan Mu makes a strong public plea on Phuket for more warnings - at the airport, at resorts and at beaches - to save more lives.

May 28 A Young Chinese tourist drowns on a day-trip from Phuket to Pai island.

May 21 British tourist Jeremy Thomas O'Neill, 37, is found dead on Patong beach about 6am. It is believed he may have misjudged the strength of the waves in darkness.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Red flags, signs, life guards ... people still drowning so the present system does not work ? Or does it ? Will more signs , flags, life guards warnings in hotels and incoming flights reduce the no of drownings ? Probably but it does not remove the danger and the likelihood that tourists simply want to go swimming here regardless of conditions, that is why they went to Phuket in the first place, to have a magical holiday at the beaches. So there will always be drownings as some people despite all warnings, flags etc will still try their luck and some will be unlucky ... there is a risk of living and the risk improves greatly if common sense is not used.

Posted by Sailor on June 23, 2013 11:16


I was at Kata beach this week and just the size of the waves was enough to tell me to stay out (I am an advanced diver so an excellent swimmer but could not risk nature like that) There were also red flags and lifeguards blowing whistles when people went in too deep I think doing an excellent job. It is sad when someone dies but unless you make it a criminal offence, or a large fine by Western standard say 5000Baht to go in the water when there are red flags showing there will be deaths. Arguably lifeguards should be issued with jetskis like in Australia but this won't happen as tourist billions in tax does not flow back so much to take care of them, like showers on the beach, public seating FREE toilets, what you have is no showers, you pay for seating and to go to the toilet, the latter is a disgrace and makes Thailand look so desperate.

Posted by Donating Farang on June 23, 2013 13:37


Part of the long running problem was created when TAT rechristened 'low season' to 'summer season'.

I know I am casting far back, but businesses used to make plenty of money in the 'high season', easily enough to survive minimum visitors in the 'low season'.

Now they are flooding the island with package tourists who don't know how to behave in the environment they are sold. Fatalities are inevitable.

Much blame lies with major international resorts as many of the package tourists pay their money at source & spend very little into the local economy once here.

Phuket is not blameless, but it does partially carry the can for corporate greed & misguided selling practices.

Posted by Logic on June 23, 2013 17:08

Editor Comment:

There was certainly a misguided move to christen the monsoon green low wet season ''summer'' but i don't think the TAT was among those who went along with that silly idea. You are right, though, about those who entice holidaymakers to come having a responsibility to keep them alive when they get here.


All the warnings in the world will not stop tourists... Proof enough is seen watching Bondi Resuce - a beach that is full of signs, in all languages, informing people how to stay safe.... The only reason people do not die at Bondi is due to the fantastic life guard service, which is treated with much more importance in Australia then it is in Phuket.

Posted by Eric Cartman on June 23, 2013 20:06


I spent two days screaming at people to get out of the prodigious rip at the southern end of Kata beach. People seem to think its a nice place to take a dip. These tourists totally ignore you telling them its dangerous, probably because they cannot speak English. Screaming at the top of your lungs, in their face, with a pointed finger seems to get the message across.

Posted by Mike Flynn on June 24, 2013 10:48

Thursday March 23, 2023
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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