Jet-ski crash kills second tourist

PATONG: A young Swedish tourist was killed in a jet-ski crash off Patong yesterday – almost exactly one month after the death of a 13-year-old German prompted officials to decide they must take steps to prevent more fatalities in the wildcat jet-ski rental industry. But proposed action to rid the island of unregistered jet-skis and strictly control legitimate beachside operators failed to come in time to save the life of the 19-year-old man, named by police as Ismail Erdis. Officers said Mr Erdis and a friend, Sadde Ahmed Dutt, 24, were riding their rented jet-skis about four kilometers off Patong at about 4:30 pm when they collided, fatally injuring Mr Erdis and slightly injuring Mr Dutt. Pol Capt Serm Kwannimit, of Kathu Police Station, said the men suddenly realized they were close to a large cruise ship. “When Mr Erdis saw the cruise ship in front of him, he suddenly turned his jet-ski and crashed into the one his friend was riding,” Capt Serm said. “Both of them fell into the sea.” People on a nearby boat pulled the men out and organized transport to Patong Hospital where Mr Erdis was pronounced dead. Doctors said his lungs were bruised and punctured. Mr Erdis’s body is now at Thalang Hospital and the Swedish Embassy is organizing shipment home. The latest fatality came as an all-too-vivid reminder of the plea “from the bottom of my heart” by the mother of the 13-year-old who died in a crash on October 24. She begged authorities to protect children and juveniles and enforce jet-ski safety regulations. Police are continuing inquiries to determine whether the jet-skis were registered or illegal. Lt Thongchai Mabangyang, of Royal Thai Navy Marine Department Office 5, told the Gazette that if the jet skis were not registered, the owners faced a maximum fine of 10,000 baht. “Many people rent out their jet-skis for tourists,” K. Thongchai said. “When we enforce the regulations, the operators band together and oppose the officers.” Officials estimate that about 300 jet-skis are being rented out along the west coast at Patong, Kata, Karon, Kamala and Bang Tao, but that only about half of them are registered. Lt Thongchai said that talks between the Marine Department Office and the Phuket Marine Office aimed at better enforcement of current legislation and proposing new limitations restricting jet-ski zones and the ages of users are scheduled to conclude on December 3.

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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