A 35 year old Thai woman drowned yesterday while taking a diving lesson near Koh Juang in the Sattahip district of Chon Buri.
The woman, Hathaya Rimpanawet, was diving with other students offshore when a strong current pulled her beneath the water with a 10 kilogram counterweight attached to her wrist.
The woman’s diving instructor, Tararat Thianpajeekun, says he, and a colleague, took students to the scene of the incident in a boat for the freediving lesson at 11am in water about 20 metres deep.
At about noon, the water stream got stronger so the instructors advised the students they needed to get out of the water and told them to hold onto their safety buoys while they fished them out onto the boats.
The 34 year old instructor revealed Hathhaya asked for help to untie the rope on her wrist but he couldn’t release it because it was tied too tight. Tararat says his colleague also tried to help but couldn’t reach her because the water stream was very strong at the time.
Tararat told police officers from Sattahip Police Station that the safety buoy keeping the woman afloat had torn and as a result the 10 kilogram counterweight pulled the student underwater.
The Royal Thai Navy, and local rescue team Sawang Rojana Dham, finally found Hathhaya’s body at 5.15pm, 4 hours after the woman drowned, and about 15 kilometres from the spot where she drowned.
The woman’s body was delivered to the Institute of Forensic Medicine at Police General Hospital in Bangkok for an autopsy. The prosecutions of the instructors and relevant agencies haven’t been reported as yet as police are still questioning the instructors for more details.
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