Tourism News

Tourism News Phuketwan Tourism News
facebook recommendations


Sign up now for our News Alert emails and the latest breaking news plus new features.

Click to subscribe

Existing subscribers can unsubscribe here


Gym Kho Kay: Death gives Phuket a toll of five drownings in four days

Russian Swimmer Dies: Five Phuket Drownings in Just Four Days

Wednesday, July 3, 2013
PHUKET: A Russian who died last night has become the fifth drowning victim at Phuket's holiday beaches in the space of just four days.

Gym Kho Kay, 32, passed away about 7pm, said a spokesperson for Vachira Phuket Hospital in Phuket City, where he had been on life support since being pulled from the surf at Karon beach on June 23.

Friends tried to save his life by applying cpr on the beach. He was first taken to Patong Hospital and then transferred to Vachira Phuket.

His death takes the drowning toll late last month on Phuket beaches from four to five within the space of four days.

The onset of the monsoon season is notoriously deadly but Phuket authorities failed to adopt any special precautions even after eight tourists drowned in the space of eight weeks between mid-May and mid-July last year.

Lifeguards and water safety experts have been urging authorities to adopt a triple-warning system so that newly arrived tourists, expecting a beach holiday, are told of possible dangers at Phuket International Airport, on arriving at their resort or guesthouse, and again at the beaches.

As a result of the spate of deaths, lifeguards took it upon themselves to string cords laden with red flags across particularly dangerous or unguarded sections of 13 popular Phuket beaches.

Phuket has two kinds of dangerous rips, the currents that can pull swimmers out to sea. One kind is a permanent rip that is always in the same spot, the other kind is a travelling rip, found in different spots depending on the daily conditions.

Phuket's seas at this time of the year are usually in any case unsafe for all but the strongest swimmers. Some resorts already warn guests to stick with the swimming pools in bad weather. Others take little responsibility.

The contract for the Phuket Lifeguard Service, extended temporarily for one month for budget negotiations with the Phuket Provincial Administrative Organisation, has been signed for the 10 months remaining in the budget year.

Gym Kho Kay's wife visited him often at Vachira Phuket before his death. Two of the five drownings were Russians.

Phuket's Shocking Monsoon Marine Death Toll 2013

July 2 Russian Gym Khao Khay, 32, dies in Vachira Phuket Hospital, effectively the fifth drowning victim on Phuket in the space of four days in June.

June 25 Phuket's lifeguards string red flags across dangerous stretches of 13 Phuket beaches, effectively closing the most dangerous parts of the beaches.

June 24 Phuket authorities react by holding a crisis meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall in Phuket City.

June 23 Phuket man Peerapon Nunark, 19, becomes drowning number four in four days when he disappears beneath the surf at Layan beach. Russian Gym Khao Khay is pulled from the surf at Karon in a coma.

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.


I feel relly sorry for all the people who have lost there lives so tragically.But I cannot be the only one who thinks that in any language a RED Flag means danger do not enter?? So surely people have to take some responsibility for their own actions?

Posted by Anonymous on July 3, 2013 11:54

Editor Comment:

Red means happiness in China. By the time people get to the beaches determined to enjoy their swim, it's too late. It's human nature to take what you've paid for: in this case, a beach holiday.


There you have it people. it is a beach of a holiday. Come and drown on Phuket in the monsoon season.Wonderful advertising by the travel agents and resort staff. Welcome to Phukey and drown. but pay your bill first. Greed is killing people both locals and tourists alike.

Posted by Graham on July 3, 2013 13:51


they stopped giving you death tolls for traffic, I wonder when they will stop giving you drowning numbers - remember this sentence please

Posted by lea on July 3, 2013 14:18

Editor Comment:

The official drowning toll monthly updates ended with the road toll monthly updates, lea, in April last year.


During my recent visit to Phuket, I was impressed by the new rip tide signs prominent in many languages the lengths of Karon & Kata Beach. Seems the authorities cannot do any more on site.

It is now up to the package tourism industry to be a little more circumspect about the packages they are selling. Don't bring tourists here under false pretenses, as their disappointment & frustration leads them to ignore the visible warnings.

Posted by Logic on July 3, 2013 20:20

Wednesday February 21, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


Facebook Twitter