American tourist and Thai girlfriend drown in Phuket

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

An American tourist and his Thai girlfriend drowned after allegedly ignoring a red flag weather warning at Mai Khao Beach in Phuket.

The bodies of 45 year old James Edmond Newman from New York, and 48 year old Waranya Chanphai from Surin province, were discovered on Monday morning, June 17.

Police Major Ronnapoom Permpoon of the Thachatchai Police Station stated that the police received a report at 7.07am. Upon arrival, they found Newman’s body washed ashore, clad only in black shorts and bearing bruises likely caused by the violent impact of the waves.

Waranya was found floating a few feet offshore. Both bodies were sent to Thalang Hospital for post-mortem examinations to determine the exact causes of death.

The couple had checked into a nearby hotel on June 16 and ventured to swim at the beach the following morning.

“It is believed that one of them was swept away by a wave, and when the other attempted to help, they too were struck and drowned. However, we are still investigating the exact cause of death.”

Winai Sae-aew, the village council leader, reported that hotel staff alerted him to the foreigner’s drowning.

“I immediately went to the scene and called the rescue team and police. Residents also helped retrieve both bodies. They may have been guests of Mai Khao Palm Beach Resort and were swimming in the morning when there was no lifeguard present, despite the red flag warning.”

This incident marks the second drowning of a US citizen in Thailand within two weeks. Just the day before, James Everett du Bois, a 49 year old US Army veteran, was swept out to sea while trying to save his wife and toddler son at Nai Harn Beach in Phuket. While his wife managed to return to shore and their son was rescued by lifeguards, du Bois was tragically lost to the powerful current.

Crime NewsPhuket NewsThailand News

Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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