Natural causes suspected in Phuket “drowning’

PHUKET: Cherng Talay Police are awaiting a coroner’s report to learn whether a German tourist who died at Surin Beach on Wednesday drowned or died of other causes.

Cherng Talay Police duty officer Lt Tatchagrit Ritnuang identified the deceased as 51-year-old Marek Klein.

Mr Klein, his wife and 10-year-old daughter were guests at the nearby Courtyard by Marriott Phuket resort.

Mr Klein was at the beach alone, as his wife and daughter had gone shopping.

According to eyewitnesses, Mr Klein rented a beach chair and umbrella and went swimming around 3pm, returning successfully to shore.

Viroon Chuasaman, of the Phuket Provincial Administration Organization’s lifeguard service covering Kamala, Laem Singh and Surin Beaches, said five lifeguards were on duty at the beach: four on foot patrol and one in a lifeguard tower.

According to the lifeguard report, red warning flags were raised along the beach after waves reached as high as two meters.

In a pattern all too familiar in Phuket, Mr Klein apparently ignored the warning flags and verbal warnings not to enter the surf around 5pm.

The lifeguard on tower duty reported last seeing Mr Klein wading waist-deep in water when the lifeguard descended from the tower to quickly fetch some personal belongings.

When he returned, he saw Mr Klein floating face down in shallow water.

He called his colleagues, who rushed to pull Mr Klein from the surf.

They immediately administered CPR, but the German did not regain consciousness.

Mr Viroon told the Gazette that he doubted Mr Klein had drowned, as he appeared to collapse suddenly in water he could stand in and no cries for help were heard by people on the beach.

Considering these factors, the cause of death was probably a pre-existing medical condition, he said.

Mr Klein’s body was taken to Thalang Hospital for examination.

— Pimwara Choksakulpan

Phuket News
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