Tuesday, 5 July 2016

7/05/2016 02:13:00 am
Foreign tourists drowned in the Andaman Sea

Zhi Feng Reng

It was supposed to be a perfect vacation, but it ended in a tragedy: The father of a Chinese family drowned after going for a swim the hotel pool.

Mr Zhi Feng Reng, his wife and his teenage son had just checked in into their rooms on the popular tourist destination in Phuket on the evening of Friday, July 1. Police declined to name hotel but said it was located in Kamala subdistrict.

What had started as an idyllic holiday on in Phuket soon later turned into a nightmare. “Mr Zhi went swimming at around 21:00 while his wife stayed in the room,” Pol Lt Co Somnuek Damgaeo from the investigation division of Kamala Provincial Police Station recalled the interrogation.

“The sun set and the currents became sronger,” the investigator said. Without realising, the Mr Zhi had drifted further away and found himself trapped in the rough sea while struggling to get back ashore.

“He was eventually pulled out of the sea,” Pol Lt Co Somnuek summarizes the outcome. “However, it looked like Mr Zhi had been under water for too long.” Lifeguards and physicians, who shortly later later yarrived on the scene, had not been able to save the man’s life.

Leonid Petrov

Yet again, a foreign tourist has drowned in Phuket while going for a swim despite red warning flags being posted.

Leonid Petrov, a 28-year-old tourist from Russia, was pulled out of the sea after a friend of his saw him calling for help and struggling to keep his head above the surface. The two had been swimming in the rough sea off Nai Han Beach in Phuket’s Rawai subdistrict at around 18:00 when the incident occurred.

Residents and other tourists helped to carry the unconscious Mr Petrov to the beach. Lifeguards who had rushed to assist attempted to revive the man but failed. He died minutes after he was brought ashore.

Mr Petrov’s friend told officers from Chalong police that the two were about 100 meters away from the beach when Mr Petrov was suddenly dragged away by waves. Witnesses confirmed the statement and said the tides were about two meters high.

High surf and strong currents around Phuket throughout the past several days have prompted officials to put up red flags to warn swimmers of the dangers. Just one day before the incident, a South Korean couple has drowned after intentionally diving into the sea off Patong Beach.

Ga-Ram Hong

A 28-year-old South Korean woman is dead and her boyfriend missing after the two jumped into the sea following an argument. Police suspect suicide.

Patong Provincial Police Station was alerted after residents had discovered the corpse of an Asian woman on the shore of Patong Beach at around 5:10 early Wednesday morning. Police later identified her as 28-year-old Ga-Ram Hong from South Korea.

Pol Maj Batapi Srichai, an investigator at Patong Provincial Police Station, said Ms Hong was lying on the sand only wearing underwear. “She was identified by tattoos on her right hand and on her lower back,” Pol Maj Batapi said. No evidence of foul play was found, he added.

What initially appeared to be a swimming accident soon turned into a suspected suicide. “The sea was rough and red flag warnings against swimming in the area were posted on the beach at the time of the incident”, the investigator said.

Interrogation of witnesses, including the security guard of The Charm Resort where the couple had stayed at, substantiated the suspicion. “Ms Hong was seen leaving the hotel at around 1:20 followed by her 25-year-old boyfriend Siwoo Park,” Pol Lt Col Somsak Tonggliang said in a press conference on Wednesday.

The pair was seen arguing at the beach when Ms Hong suddenly threw herself into the water. “Mr Siwoo followed her and dragged her back out”, he said. “They then continued to quarrel.” Moments later, the stirred up couple again dove into the sea, but this time, they disappeared behind the waves.

Hours later, the lifeless body of Ms Hong was found around 300 meters away from the spot where they had entered the water, police said. The body of Mr Park is still missing.

Police officers also investigated the hotel room of the South Korean couple but did not find anything unusual. They had checked in on June 26 and were scheduled to leave on Wednesday, police said.

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