Kayaking tourists swept out to sea in eastern Thailand, 1 dies and 1 survives

Two tourists were swept out to sea while kayaking in Rayong province, eastern Thailand, yesterday afternoon. One of the men drowned and the other clung to his friend’s body all night in the open sea until he was rescued by a passing fishing boat this morning.

Three tourists, all of mixed Thai and Taiwanese nationality, travelled on holiday to Koh Mun Klang off the coast of Rayong. The two men, 39 year old Lee and 29 year old An went out kayaking yesterday afternoon, while An’s girlfriend chose not to join them.

In the evening, she became concerned and informed the kayak rental staff that the two men had not returned. Rayong Provincial Tourist Police sent a boat out to look for Lee and An last night, but because of the darkness and weather conditions, the boat didn’t find them.

In the morning, a local fishing boat found An, alive, clinging to Lee’s body. The fisherman, Boonchid Suwannachot, said that he was fishing near the island when he saw something floating in the sea. At first, he didn’t think it was a person. When he got closer, he saw a life jacket. He brought both men onto the boat and sought help immediately.

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Phuttasasongkhroh Rescue Foundation and police officers were called to a pier in Klaeng district to retrieve Lee’s body and help An. An was given first aid and taken to Klaeng Hospital for treatment.

An told police that he was out kayaking when he and Lee were swept out into the open sea. An said that a huge wave knocked both of them out of their boat. Lee was still conscious at that point and both men clung to each other in hopes of being rescued. They were both wearing life jackets.

An said that after a few hours he became weak. He said that Lee stopped responding to him, but he didn’t know if he was dead or not, so he clung to his body all night in case there was a chance that his friend would survive.

When An saw the fishing boat, he said he was both shocked because he thought he was going to die. He said he was also deeply saddened at the same time, as he realised he had lost his friend.

Police notified Lee’s relatives of his death and informed An’s girlfriend that An was in Klaeng Hospital. An is safe but is still in hospital recovering from being in the sea all night with no food and water.

Extreme weather conditions have caused a series of shocking events in the Klaeng district in the past week. On Thursday, 140,000 chickens drowned in a flood today at a poultry farm in the Klaeng district.

A Laotian woman gave birth in the back of a pickup truck right outside Klaeng Hospital on Friday. The woman couldn’t make it into the hospital because the entrance was badly flooded.

The power of the floods in Rayong was captured on video last Wednesday when a songtaew truck carrying 15 students was almost swept away by strong currents. Rescue workers managed to tie down the truck just in time and rescue the students one by one.


Thailand News


Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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