Connect with us


Phuket beach deaths: Airlines, airport could help cut the toll

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Phuket beach deaths: Airlines, airport could help cut the toll | Thaiger

PHUKET: The full onset of this year’s monsoon season has brought with it a sadly predictable rise in the number of drowning deaths, most among foreign tourists who ignored not only the red warning flags, but also, in some cases, verbal warnings from lifeguards about the dangers.

The latest casualty was a Romanian tourist who, like so many before him, entered the surf unaware of the magnitude of the risk. (See front page story, current [July 31] issue of the Phuket Gazette. Digital subscribers click here.)

Reporting the never-ending string of drowning deaths is depressing work indeed. Most of the victims are here on holiday, often with family and friends whose Phuket experience turns into a nightmare in a matter of moments.

Equally depressed must be the island’s 17 honorary consuls. Almost all of them have had to personally experience dealing with bereaved families, arranging funeral services or repatriating the remains of people who, in many cases, were in the prime of life when they were dragged out to sea for their holiday death.

But the depression experienced by local journalists and volunteer diplomatic staff pales in comparison to that of the island’s lifeguards, whose frustration boiled over last week with an unprecedented charge against hotel owners on the island for not doing enough to warn their guests of the dangers.

While it is unrealistic to expect to reduce the number of drowning deaths to zero, we need to do our best to come up with new ways to get the message across to tourists about how treacherous surf conditions can be at this time of year.

Red flags, verbal warnings and signs are obviously not enough. Their intended messages are sadly ignored on an island where newcomers’ senses are constantly bombarded with garish commercial signage and rude, in-your-face touting.

That being the case, here are some ideas that might help get the needed message across.

First, and as recommended in this space several times in the past, would be to have the captains of incoming commercial flights to clearly spell out the dangers over their PA systems.

Tourists enjoying a day at the beach might tune out the lifeguards along with trinket vendors and time-share touts, but they are likely to heed the words of an airline pilot while they sit captive at 30,000 feet.

Most, if not all, airlines bound for Thailand warn passengers of the death penalty for drugs. But for the millions of holidaymakers arriving in Phuket, the risk of death by drowning is surely far, far greater.

Second, create a “memorial wall” to tourists whose lives have been needlessly lost. Don’t put it on some beach, but inside the baggage pick-up area at the airport, along with a video presenting the grim statistics and other relevant information. While this might not be the most uplifting of starts to a tourist’s visit, it would certainly help reduce the body count in our annual monsoon harvests of beach death.


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

Koh Samui3 hours ago

UPDATED: Samui Covid-19: 14 new Black Club infections, 2nd small cluster

Thailand4 hours ago

40,000 cases a day could happen by September, says projection

Phuket5 hours ago

Phuket Sandbox Covid-19 infections: 35 today, 209 this week

Sponsored2 days ago

Experience Phuket’s Islands with 5 Star Marine

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Thailand5 hours ago

Prayut says he will not resign, warns politicians to behave

Thailand6 hours ago

Bangkok Train market to possibly close for good

Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 hours ago

Border between Kanchanaburi and Myanmar closed until…

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand8 hours ago

Covid UPDATE: 18,912 infections, provincial totals

Coronavirus (Covid-19)8 hours ago

PCD says don’t throw away used masks in water bottles after infections linked to bottles

Thailand9 hours ago

Government says it’s okay to criticise them, if it’s fact based

Thailand10 hours ago

Bangkok volunteer group “Sai Mai Will Survive” overwhelmed with calls

Coronavirus (Covid-19)11 hours ago

Phuket reservations slow down for August

Thailand14 hours ago

Covid UPDATE Saturday: 18,912 infections, news briefs

Drugs20 hours ago

Police nab 600kg heroin drug bust, year’s biggest in Northeast

Koh Samui23 hours ago

Koh Samui unaccustomed to Covid-19, many act in dismay

Thailand1 day ago

Bangkok Airways extends flight suspension to August 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism5 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8