Phuket to tackle problem of swimmers ignoring red flags

Red flags are flying at many beaches in Phuket to warn tourists it is too dangerous to go swimming, no matter how tranquil it appears.(Photo by Achataya Chuenniran)

PHUKET – A meeting on Thursday will consider additional measures to prevent more tourists drowning at beaches where red flags are already flying to warn people it is too dangerous to go in the water.

Many foreign tourists simply ignore the no-swimming flags, often with tragic consequences, Phuket governor Noraphat Plodthong said on Wednesday.

He expressed his regret over the drowning of a Chinese tourist at Kamala beach on Tuesday.

The  went swimming with two friends in strong seas at Kamala beach around 6pm on Tuesday.

They were caught by a large wave around 50 metres offshore and called for help. Lifeguards managed to rescue two of them. The body of the third, an 18-year-old, was found washed up on the beach on Wednesday morning.

Mr Noraphat said red flags were flying at beaches in Phuket to specifically warn tourists of the dangerous conditions at this time of year. 

He would call a meeting on Thursday to draw up additional measures to help prevent more drownings.

There were three recent incidents in which foreign tourists swimming in the sea off Phuket beaches found themselves in trouble when caught by big waves. Two people were drowned in one week.

One tourist drowned while swimming at Karon beach. In the second incident, a group of tourists were rescued while swimming at Patong beach. In the latest incident, the Chinese youth drowned at Kamala beach on Tuesday.

Phuket governor Noraphat Plodthong talks with lifeguards about the drowning of a Chinese tourist at Kamala beach on Tuesday. (Photo by Achadtaya Chuenniran)

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