American teacher charged with reckless homicide over 8 year old’s drowning in Chumphon

An American teacher has been charged with reckless homicide after the drowning of an eight year old boy in Chumphon province. The boy’s family, however, says they don’t blame the teacher for his death.

According to Khaosod English, the 45 year old teacher was an employee of a local church in Map Ammarit Sub-District, Pathio District. He was on holiday with his wife, son and four other children.

While they were relaxing on the beach, his son and Wiwat Phuthing were in the water. The two boys were holding onto a fish-shaped floating rubber about 3.5 metres from the beach. Waves overtook the kids with the teacher’s son being rescued by a Myanmar worker. But, Wiwat, disappeared.

More than 100 local police and rescuers searched for the eight year old boy. His body was found Monday about 1 kilometre north of where he drowned. The American teacher broke down when he heard his body was found.

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Police charged the teacher with reckless homicide, as they alleged that he allowed the boys to play in the water without caution, resulting in the boy’s death. The child’s body was taken to Pathiu Hospital for an autopsy.

In other news, the decomposed body of a man washed up on the beach in the same district of Chumphon province on Sunday, just one day before the drowning of the eight year old boy.

Fishermen discovered the man’s body close to a popular tourist pier on Koh Khai island in the Pathiu district. The identity of the man is still a mystery due to the body’s decomposed state. Police say it is too early to determine if the man was one of the missing sailors from the HTMS Sukhothai ship that previously sank during a storm in the sea off Prachuap Khiri Khan last December.

As many Thai people cannot swim, drownings remain the leading cause of death for Thai teens under 16 years old.

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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