Patong bar employee drowns in dangerous Phuket surf

PHUKET: A teenage bar employee drowned at Patong Beach early this morning after ignoring red “no swim” flags and swimming in the dangerous Phuket surf in his jeans.

Suksan Jaiyen, 19, and three friends were having drinks on the beach after closing the bar around 2am, explained Lt Thawatchai Srimai of the Patong Police.

“We assume that Mr Suksan was drunk at the time and unable to recover after he was struck by a big wave,” Lt Thawatchai said.

Mr Suksan’s friends immediately called police, who put together a search party. It wasn’t until sunrise that his body was found floating at sea.

“There was no sign of foul play,” Lt Thawatchai confirmed.

Mr Suksan’s drowning prompted a fresh round of warnings by lifeguards, who regularly caution beachgoers about ignoring red flags, swimming drunk and swimming in jeans (story here).

“The red flags mark the dangerous areas of the beach, and people must respect them,” Wirot Saweangphol, chief lifeguard at Patong Beach, told the Phuket Gazette.

“We are not available 24-hours a day to warn people – but that’s why we keep the flags out on the beach after our shifts.”

Lifeguard are on duty from 8:30am to 6:30pm.

— Natthaphol Wittayarungrote

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