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A woman grieves for Chen Peng, latest Chinese tourist to die,  today

Phuket Tourist Killed by Boat Propeller near Phi Phi: Second Chinese Death in Two Days

Wednesday, June 19, 2013
PHUKET: A Chinese tourist was killed when struck by a speedboat propeller while on a snorkelling day-trip from Phuket to Phi Phi today - the second Chinese tourist to die in the holiday region's waters in two days.

The man's wife was photographed in anguish as she grieved over the body of Chen Peng, 36, at a hospital morgue today, with their Phuket holiday turned to horror.

Two deaths of Chinese tourists within 48 hours will ignite intense concern among Chinese envoys who have insisted that Phuket be made safer or Chinese tourists will be sent to other destinations.

It appears Phuket authorities have been slow to react to a public warning from the Chinese Ambassador that tourists have to be properly protected.

Confused versions of Chen Peng's death emerged this afternoon.

It's known that he was struck by a propeller in the water at Pileh Bay, a stunningly pretty fjord-like gorge close to Phi Phi's main harbor, and that desperate efforts were then made to seek treatment.

Phi Phi policeman Lieutenant Colonel Jaran Nabpet was notified by nurses at Phi Phi Hospital about 1pm that a tourist had been struck in the stomach and legs by a propeller.

Chen Peng's wounds were too serious to treat at the ill-equipped Phi Phi Hospital so he was transferred to the Phuket Provincial Administration Hospital in Phuket City, where he died.

The ''captain'' of the boat, the Jan Dara, said that 11 tourists had been on board. Thanawut Suttirak told police that Chen Peng had jumped into the water while the speedboat's engines were still running.

The owner of the speedboat, Chairang Weerakit, gave a more elaborate account of the incident.

He said five of the 11 tourists stayed on the vessel when it anchored in the bay. But a series of large waves - exceedingly rare in a bay with such a narrow entrance - forced the ''captain'' tp move to prevent the vessel striking rocks or other boats.

The tourists were told to stay on board but two of them ignored the instruction and Chen Peng was struck, the speedboat's owner said.

Chinese envoys are expected to be extremely keen to learn precise details of today's tragedy and hear more about yesterday's drowning.

Ran Li, 23, drowned on a snorkelling day-trip to Racha island, a popular destination about 40 minutes from Phuket.

More Chinese have drowned on snorkelling day-trips in the past 18 months than people from other countries, causing concern that not enough effort goes into protecting people who can't swim or can barely swim.

Boat boys, more used to European and Australian passengers who are better swimmers, have rarely been seen paying attention to the safety of their passsengers in the water.

Tourism safety is likely to be a key issue when European envoys and Australia's ambassador - and possibly China's ambassador - meet with the Tourism and Sport Minister in Bangkok on June 28.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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that phuketwan, in 2013, actually believes the chinese government (!) cares for its citizens - wow !

absolutely no clue of life on earth, stunning !

Posted by wen li on June 19, 2013 19:13

Editor Comment:

Not very compassionate, wen li. A tragedy is hardly the time for politicking.

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If a person is in the water near the boat, you do NOT start the engines for whatever reason. Even an outboard propeller draft can pull in persons from 10m away and chop them to pieces.

A damaged boat can be repaired or replaced but human life is irreplaceable.

The picture is dramatic and leaves a lasting impression. At least on me, obviously not on Phuket authorities.

Accidents are non-preventable. This was no accident. Had the engines not been turned on, the man would still be alive.

Posted by ThaiMike on June 19, 2013 19:14

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Ed, In know we are in Asia where more grphic pictures are acceptable but most of your readers are non Asian. Therefore may I suggest that you change the photo to allow this lady to grieve in some privacy.

Posted by Donating Farang on June 19, 2013 19:15

Editor Comment:

We have weighed the options carefully and chosen to publish, Donating Farang. This was a very public death and our aim is to prevent future needless deaths. We are acting with the best interests of all our readers in mind.

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Surely if the boat was anchored this death could have been avoided. I am an Advanced Scuba Diver and on many of the dives I have been on the boat drops anchor.

Posted by Donating Farang on June 19, 2013 19:39

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This is a tragic loss of life. During the high season I saw literally thousands of Chinese tourists standing knee deep in water at La Cha(?)Island. No one seemed to venture deeper than their waist. All had red life jackets on and marched to the water in pairs like a military column, flag led. This must have been the first time in their lives that they had ever entered the sea and given their type of regimented work and home life it's no wonder. For some it's a incredible lifetime adventure while for others maybe full of apprehension. Information safety pamphlets should be given before they arrive in Phuket, followed by on site safety lessons before they enter the water. But where would the funds for this education come from for this unique tourist group and who would be qualified or even want to give the lessons? So many unanswered questions.

Posted by seht1912 on June 19, 2013 19:49

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What a terrible tragedy. A needless waste of life. I recently witnessed a series of close calls at Kata Noi from some paragliding beach people that took over the entire beach, narrowly missing people in the water each time they came by and when a tourist took exception shouted him down and said it was 'their beach'. Safety standards are 3rd world while trying to attract 1st world customers. When will there be change instead of talk and more needless deaths?

Posted by Jon on June 19, 2013 20:14

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The sooner tour operators and captains are forced to follow weather warnings the better.

Posted by Mister Ree on June 19, 2013 20:22

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You are a g****** f***** moron ED. (severely moderated)

Posted by mal on June 19, 2013 20:43

Editor Comment:

Oh mal, sorry. You've lost the plot and we've momentarily misplaced your comment.

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Why dont you man up and print what a few of us say, but that most of your readers are too polite to say mr ed.
A master of manipulation but most can see through you.Check just how many readers you alienate every single day.
You are one seriously f******* up coward..

Posted by mal on June 19, 2013 21:03

Editor Comment:

The only thing we fear, mal, is carrying your unsubstantiated opinions. Besides, they only matter to you.

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RIP Khun Chen Peng.

One part of the tragedy is the ill equiped "hospital" on Phi Phi or in general the not so timely fashion of the first response process in Thailand. No helicopter rescue, no good mobile medical emergency doctors.

And another part of the tragedy is, how can he be where he was and the captain did not shut down the engine?

Also the second one, when reading about the "second" wave drowning, I try to think of a scenario, how that could have happened, and I totally fail.

Yes "accidents happen", the famous proverb, but the outcome do not need to be that bad and some accidents do not need to happen totally.

These two deadly incidents could 1. have been easily prevented and 2. be handled better and if so would have been not neccessarily deadly.

Posted by Lena on June 19, 2013 21:53

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Did the captain tell them in chinese?
Every one of these deaths three common denominators are present every time chinese , snorkle tours, none observant tour guides with excuses they ate after lunch or it was the waves,they have a duty of care for there charges, if only the captain bothered to take just a cursury look over his shoulder prior starting the prop/s its apparent these snorkle tour operaters are not fit to launch a model yacht in a fishpond.

Posted by slickmelb on June 19, 2013 22:30

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Two people in two days from China my deepest sympathies to the families and of course it will be no doubt put down to the fault of the tourists It must be because these boat captains are so professional as several tourists will swear who have been killed,crippled or dumped in the sea after sinkings over this past year alone.

Posted by Scunner on June 19, 2013 23:11

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why cant Phi Phi, Racha be shut down during this season (Greed I suppose)

In Cheow Larn lake there is one stunning trek which goes through a cave after a major accident where 12 tourists died about 15 years ago (was the second major accident in five years) the acess to the cave for trekking was suspended for low season and still is

Posted by Michael on June 19, 2013 23:13

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"... causing concern that not enough effort goes into protecting people who can't swim...":

HOW DO YOU WANT TO PROTECT SOMEONE WHO CAN'T SWIM AND JUMPS INTO THE OCEAN??? Seems to me a little bit like trying to protect someone who turns a gun against his own head and pulls the trigger.

Posted by raland on June 20, 2013 03:33

Editor Comment:

Non-swimmers go on snorkelling trips, put on floating devices and jump in . . . and nobody asks them whether they can swim. I've been on trips with non-swimmers. That's why a questionnaire is essential. Capital letters, by the way, only make your comment hard to read.

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(moderated)

Posted by stu on June 20, 2013 06:02

Editor Comment:

Evidence, stu, evidence. Send us the evidence and we'll do as you suggest. Your guesswork has no value. Nor has your bigotry.

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If the boat was anchored, this awful tragedy would not have happened. Even if the boat had swung on the anchor towards rocks, shorten up on the anchor. Basic seamanship.
RIP Cheng Peng

Posted by andaman on June 20, 2013 06:02

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In the bay in question there are 3 mooring buoys available to pick up around the coral reef at the entrance, where the speedboats take the customers. Outside the bay it is too deep to anchor. If the buoys are taken by other boats, the speedboats drift around while the customers snorkel. This is a staggeringly dangerous practice, as is taking a flimsy speedboat across the channel between the 2 Phi Phi islands with 30 knots of wind forecast. Nothing will ever change regarding the lack of professionalism of Thai boat "captains", primarily because they have no training or knowledge of how a professional captain should behave and what the attitudes, behaviour and decisions of a professional captain should be... and that's before taking into account the macho culture and obvious state of intoxication of many of them. Governments, tourist authorities, airlines and hotels need to do more to strongly remind tourists that they are taking a holiday in a third world country, and that their personal safety on the roads and on the water is seriously compromised.

Posted by ElCapitan on June 20, 2013 08:29

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Someone should interview any of the 11 tourist on board what happened. I have dealt with Chinese tourists and they do listen to instructions because they are curious and cautious. If the propellers or the engines were going on, I don't believe any of them dare to jump into the water. I wouldn't even dare to be within 3 feet of the propellers when they are going on and they are loud!
Hopefully they get to interview someone whose business is not involved in this fiasco so they can get the truth...also 11 pax on a speedboat, that I don't believe. I have never seen a speedboat where they don't pack everyone in like refugees.

Posted by May on June 20, 2013 08:56

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Dive operators, who always have staff on board trained in emergency first response, have suspended operation due to the severe weather conditions. But tour operators with no specially skilled staff continue operation. Snorkeling with these high waves close to shore is extremely dangerous. And most boat "captains" can't even swim !

Posted by Werni on June 20, 2013 08:57

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Lighten up on Ed. He publishes a story not covered as of yet by any other news agency and you abuse him here.

Yes sometimes Ed gets under our skin with his comments but thats part and parcel of reading Phuketwan and in many ways i believe why some of you log on to this site.

Give the guy some credit. Hes doing a good job reporting many stories that would never be reported by other media on this island.

Posted by Ciaran on June 20, 2013 10:16

Editor Comment:

Too many warped egos out there among our level-headed readers, Ciaran, but thanks.

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Editor, If it was you that died, would you want your wifes photo here? This is disrespectful

Posted by thomas on June 20, 2013 12:00

Editor Comment:

It's a controversial decision and we debated whether or not to publish. My view was that if other lives could be saved because of publication of the photograph, it would be the right thing to do. We intend no disrespect.

If I thought a photo of me dead would save the lives of others, I'd be all for it. (and others will be all for it, for all the wrong reasons.)

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Tragic. But I'm surprised it has taken so long for someone to be killed in this bay. I went here a number of years ago when my family visited and was horrified at what was going on. Many tens of speed boats and larger vessels (the ferries from Phuket) dropping people in the water to snorkel. Boats constantly maneuvering all about. Absolute lunacy. No thought of safety whatsoever. Nobody given even the least bit of safety instruction or advice.

Posted by john on June 20, 2013 12:16

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The owner of the speedboat, Chairang Weerakit, gave a more elaborate account of the incident.
D/T a series of large waves entering the bay..?
Waves possibly caused by another speedboat flying by as these speedboat captains do not know the term. NO WAKE
While traveling near to other vessels.
The picture very tame compared to Thai news and facebook...

Posted by Jimmy Rawai on June 20, 2013 13:02

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Why they did not use a copter to lift the injured Chinese to Phuket hospital?
Also Phi-Phi Islands are part of Hat Noppharat Thara - Mu Ko Phi Phi Marine National park and DNP Rangers may be blamed for not fixing mooring buoys and charging an entry fee to finance DNP Ranger Patrols to collect the money and mooring buoy project.
Also we never see Krabi Marine Police to check fast boats on coral reefs and near shore where snorkelers and divers are below or on surface.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on June 20, 2013 13:10

Editor Comment:

Phuket does not have a helicopter rescue service.

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[quote]
Phuket does not have a helicopter rescue service.
[/quote]

That seems to be the case. But I recall attending a ceremony as a Tourist Police Volunteer some years ago which celebrated the launch of a helicopter emergency hospital airlift service in Phuket, provided by Bangkok Phuket Hospital.

Ed, do you recall this event? Does BPH or other Phuket authorities still provide such a service?

Posted by Simon Luttrell on June 20, 2013 14:15

Editor Comment:

There are several helicopters including one used by the police and another used by the navy, and a hospital has one. But their use is discretionary. There is no specific rescue chopper.

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Snorkling is best done in mill pond conditions more so for first timers,some would be in trouble in the resort swimming pool snorkling, yet they insist on going out into open water in all weather for the baht be best someone introduces thailand to glass bottom boats.

Posted by slickmelb on July 2, 2013 21:46


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