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Expert demonstrates power of rip current at Phuket’s deadliest beach

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Expert demonstrates power of rip current at Phuket’s deadliest beach | The Thaiger

PHUKET: It’s that time of year, when the dark moisture-laden clouds tumble into this island paradise and the sea turns into frothing, churning mayhem. But that doesn’t stop people from jumping in for a little dip and next thing they know the beach has dropped out from beneath their feet and constant pounding waves start to wear them out.

Such is the experience hundreds of beach-goers have on Phuket beaches every year. Fortunately, the majority find their way back to safety or are plucked from the pull by one the island’s trusty lifeguards. Dozens every year are not so lucky.

However, there are a group of people who are trying to make Phuket’s beaches safer. One such person is Phuket Lifeguard Club patron and supporter Jayne MacDougall.

Recently, Ms MacDougall arranged for well-known coastal geomorphologist and Senior Lecturer at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia Dr Robert Brander to visit Phuket’s beaches, teach a short workshop about rip currents and offer his recommendations.

Dr Brander, aka “Dr Rip”, spoke on Karon Beach to a group of about 12 people, including three Phuket Lifeguard Club members. He gave a 20-minute lecture about how to identify rip currents and escape them, and gave other beach and water safety tips. The main attraction, however, came afterward when he released a bright purple dye into the surf as a visual demonstration of a rip current.

“I studied beaches in Canada and did my master’s there. I took a year off and went to Australia, went to Bondi Beach, and my friend pointed out this rip current and I couldn’t see it. I thought, hang on, how can you study something if you can’t see it, and that triggered my interest,” explained Dr Brander.

“I’ve come to Thailand many times on holidays and I’ve heard about a lot of these rip drownings in Phuket and my research is all about learning more about what we can do to prevent rip drownings by understanding people’s awareness levels,” says Dr Brander.

Another goal of Dr Brander’s visit in Phuket is to collaborate with the Phuket Lifeguard Club to secure funding to launch more safety initiatives in Phuket.

“I’ve spent a lot of time looking at the beaches [in Phuket], mapping the beaches and learning more about them… We hope to get some funding next year to come back and do a survey of locals, Thai and international tourists to find out where their knowledge of rip currents is and then use that to develop some safety information.”

Dr Brander grabbed a bucket with what looked like a kilo of coffee grounds and began wading into the sea. In chest deep water he stirred some water into the bucket and released the contents, which immediately turned bright purple.

“I put the dye in fairly close to shore and right away they can see just how fast it moves off-shore and they can see how far it goes and they can appreciate that ‘if that was me, that’s what would happen to me’,” says Dr Brander of the dramatic demonstration.

Within seconds, the small harmless cloud of purple turned into a long plume which stretched out beyond the pounding surf.

“A lot of people drown in rip currents, not only in Phuket but around the world. Any beach that has a lot of breaking waves can have rip currents. But so many people just do not know what rips are – they think they get pulled under by rips, they think they are called rip tides. You can explain all of these things, but the best thing to do is a visual demonstration.”

The demonstration left no question as to which direction the currents were flowing and how quickly.

“What triggered my interest in going from science to beach safety is I saw so many people drown in rips where it shouldn’t have ever happened. I realized that people didn’t have the basic knowledge that I had and so I thought that it is not hard to teach people and the dye is just such an effective method,” said Dr Brander, explaining how he came to be called “Dr Rip”.

Phuket Lifeguard Club President Prathaiyut Chuayuan was present with two other club members to witness the demonstration. He expressed concern and frustration with the number of people in the water regardless of red flags, danger signs and repeated warnings from lifeguards.

With continuing education and more resources to give foreign tourists the knowledge to stay safe, Dr Brander and Mr Prathaiyut both believe that many deaths on Phuket beaches can be averted.

As the purple dye stretched thin beyond the red-flag-dotted beach, three swimmers entered the water directly behind a prominent “No swimming sign”. In waist-deep water, one girl was obviously being pulled by the strong current but was able to get her footing and retreat into shallow water.

“That’s why I do it, because rip drownings are avoidable – if you don’t get in one, you won’t drown in one.”

For more information about rip currents, visit Dr Brander’s site: scienceofthesurf.com

Keep checking the Phuket Gazette, join our Facebook fan page or follow us on Twitter @PhuketGazette for the latest news updates.

— Jeremie Schatz



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Business

Beam me up Phuket – new space theme hotel for the island

Bill Barnett

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Beam me up Phuket – new space theme hotel for the island | The Thaiger

A 150 key space themed hotel is under development in Kathu, Phuket, by a Singaporean group .

Located close to the Central Festival and Makro complexes, the project is expected to open next year according to a report in TTG Asia.

The One Pioneer – Beyond Space Travel hotel say it’s “highly focused on an outer space storyline and will have an indoor observatory”.

Janette Lee, founder and CEO, says the hotel is poised to open sometime in 2020.

“Tourism business in Thailand and in Phuket will continue to grow but there is still a lack of new attractions. Our vision is to bring to life the dreams of mankind for an experience of space on earth. Our target markets will be both local and international tourists.”

According to Lee, the company is seeking partners from Thailand or elsewhere to complete the project. She has had discussions with potential partners and investors during the South East Asia Hotel Investment Summit which took place in Bangkok last week.

Prior to entering the tourism business, Lee had sold her private education business and social enterprise in Singapore. She also used to work in the financial sector.

The project cost is estimated at $40 million.

Beam me up Phuket - new space theme hotel for the island | News by The Thaiger Beam me up Phuket - new space theme hotel for the island | News by The Thaiger

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Phuket

Two charged with attacking an ambulance and driver in Phuket

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Two charged with attacking an ambulance and driver in Phuket | The Thaiger

Two men were have been charged with attacking a moving ambulance and the volunteer ambulance driver along the ByPass Road in Phuket earlier this week.

The two assailants were easily identified as 22 year old Sagib Yomyai and 29 year old Sutthi Sripoon, both from Trang province, were arrested at a rented house in Tambon Wichit, Muang district, with an array of incriminating evidence that included a pistol, two bullets, a knife and an axe.

The pair were then taken for questioning in front of Phuket police chief Pol Maj General Wisan Panmanee.

The men were charged by police with damaging, or rendering useless, property belonged to another person, threatening another person and illegal possession of a gun.

The charges follow an attack on the ambulance with a knife and an axe as it was driving on Chalerm Phrakiat King Rama 9 road (ByPass Road) in Muang district on May 20.

The ambulance driver, 41 year old Detnarong Songsang, a lawyer by profession, told Wichit Police that the two men were on a Honda Wave motorcycle that chased after him after he beeped his horn at them for dangerously changing lanes near Siriroj Hospital at around 5pm on Monday.

Two charged with attacking an ambulance and driver in Phuket | News by The Thaiger Two charged with attacking an ambulance and driver in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

One of the men threw an object at the back of the ambulance and then tried several times to use a knife to pierce the ambulance’s hood cover. They kept up the chase and then attacked the rear again, this time with an axe.

Detnarong accelerated to escape and luckily for him, the men spotted police on the road ahead, so they gave up the pursuit. He went straight to the police station to report the incident.

Damage estimated at 50,000 baht was caused to the back windshield of the ambulance, its two side windows and the hood cover. As police were still hunting the suspects, Detnarong posted a four-minute video clip and photo on to his Facebook account to help spread the news.

One reporter asked the driver why he didn’t just drive them off the road, Detnarong said he was trained to save people and it was inappropriate to use an ambulance to cause harm.

Two charged with attacking an ambulance and driver in Phuket | News by The Thaiger Two charged with attacking an ambulance and driver in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

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Phuket

No injury as trailer truck loses control in Phuket Darasamut Underpass – VIDEO

The Thaiger

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No injury as trailer truck loses control in Phuket Darasamut Underpass – VIDEO | The Thaiger

PHOTOS/VIDEO: Newshawk Phuket / อาสา ของ ประชาชน

A trailer has skidded and lost control, and then collided with concrete barriers at the southern entrance to the Darasamut Underpass this morning. No injuries were reported as a result of the incident.

Wichit Police were notified of the incident at 10am. Police and emergency responders arrived at the scene to find the damaged trailer truck and smashed barriers. Both lanes inside the underpass were blocked until the truck and debris could be removed.

Police checked CCTV footage showing that the truck was heading down into the underpass. The truck lost control after starting to skid sideways and smashed through the median barriers.

#ภูเก็ต #วินาที เกิดอุบัติเหตุอุโมงค์ทางลอดดาราสมุทร #Phuket #VIDEO 9.37am accident at the entrance of the Darasamut Underpass northbound. #NewshawkPhuket#NewsInPhuket #PhuketTraffic #PhuketUnderpass #accident #PhuketAccident #PhuketRoadSafety

Posted by เหยี่ยวข่าว ภูเก็ต on Wednesday, May 22, 2019

 

No injury as trailer truck loses control in Phuket Darasamut Underpass - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger No injury as trailer truck loses control in Phuket Darasamut Underpass - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger No injury as trailer truck loses control in Phuket Darasamut Underpass - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger No injury as trailer truck loses control in Phuket Darasamut Underpass - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger No injury as trailer truck loses control in Phuket Darasamut Underpass - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger No injury as trailer truck loses control in Phuket Darasamut Underpass - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

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