Man drowns in “freak wave’

PATONG (Gazette, Kom Chad Leuk): The body of one of the three men who were dashed against rocks at Paradise Beach by a single large wave on Saturday was recovered today.

Cap Nithikorn Rawang, duty officer at Kathu Police Station, told the Gazette that the men were fishing off a rocky outcrop near Paradise Beach when they were swamped by a large wave at about 10 am.

Witnesses who saw the men being dragged out to sea managed to rescue two of the men: Suriya Wongsawat and Somsak Kingwongsa, both 40 years old.

The third man, 42-year-old Anusorn Pasomsap, disappeared in the rough surf, Capt Nithikorn said.

After failing to find Khun Anusorn, local villagers contacted police.

Police were delayed in reaching the scene, however, as the rocky point is inaccessible by car and surrounded by mountains between Tri Trang Beach and Patong, and is approximately a three-kilometer journey by boat, Cap Nithikorn explained.

“There is a small dirt track that goes there, but you can only walk there or go on an off-road bike, which meant it took a few hours before police could reach the scene,” he said.

K. Anusorn was in Phuket on holiday. His body was recovered today by Kusoldham Foundation volunteers and taken to Patong Hospital, he added.

Also on Saturday, Chatchapol Tangpradit, chief of the Sea Information and Security Center, reported that off the coast of Surat Thani waves up to five meters tall swept two fishermen from their boat.

Both men were found alive floating off Koh Samui and recovered by another fishing boat.

Wanchai Sakudomchai, deputy director of the Phuket-based Southwest Coastal Division of the Thai Meteorological Department, said that heavy rains on the Andaman Sea, especially off the coasts of Ranong, Phang Nga, Phuket and Krabi, over the next few days will create significantly stronger and bigger waves.

Operators of small boats should pay attention to the latest weather reports and exercise extreme caution when putting out to sea, he said.

Over the weekend, Gazette staff observed tourists swimming off Phuket’s beaches despite red flags warning that it was not safe to do so.

Phuket News

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