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Phuket lifeguards warn of deadly rip-currents

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Phuket lifeguards warn of deadly rip-currents | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Seasonal changes have brought strong rip currents to the shores of Phuket. With them comes a sharp rise in the number of rescues this month, prompting lifeguards to issue stern warnings to would-be swimmers.

“Swimmers who ignore warning flags are risking their lives and those of the lifeguards,” said the president of the Phuket Lifeguard Club (PLC), Prathaiyut Chuayuan.

Unlike previous years, which saw lifeguards walk off the sands as the PLC and Phuket provincial government haggled over the next contract, guards will remain on duty during this dangerous time of year. There were no delays as the guards quickly signed the 22-million-baht contract on April 20.

The club, which has 98 lifeguards manning 38 stations at 12 beaches in the province, recorded 35 rescues in April; 15 Thais and 20 foreigners.

However, despite the successful rescues, the lethal currents off Phuket did claim one life in April. Lifeguards doubt it will be the last, if people don’t take heed of their warnings.

The first swimming-related death recorded by Phuket lifeguards this year was a woman in her twenties from Bangkok, who died on April 18. She and five friends ignored the red flags warning people not to swim. The group of six were swept out of their depth and all had to be rescued by the lifeguards, but only five of them survived the ordeal.

“The woman’s death was a direct result of swimming in the red-flag zone and ignoring the lifeguards’ warnings,” said the head lifeguard at Nai Harn Beach, Jula Nontree “The friends were standing in water only a meter deep when waves knocked them over and they were dragged out to sea,” he said.

Although April’s death was a Thai national, it is foreign visitors that are most likely to fall victim to the vicious undercurrents at popular beaches.

Last year, Phuket’s lifeguards saved the lives of at least 269 foreigners and 44 Thais.

Between January and March this year, lifeguards rescued 59 swimmers. Out of the 52 people pulled from the surf in January, six were Thai and 46 were foreigners.

Four foreigners were rescued in February, then in March, one Thai national and two foreigners.
Following the arrival of the rip currents in April, the number of rescues so far this year has jumped to 94, according to figures from the Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (PPAO).

“Please adhere to red-flag warnings at beaches, which are placed when the rip-currents are particularly strong,” urged Mr Prathaiyut.

“Understand that we have only two or three lifeguards at each station. The red flags are placed in spots that are dangerous to swim in, so it’s just best to avoid them,” he said.

Uten Singsom, the head lifeguard in Kata-Karon, said foreigners often ignore the lifeguards’ warnings and have even become violent.

“We always try to warn people but sometimes fights break out with those who don’t understand English. They end up ignoring us,” said Mr Uten.

“Things got so bad last year with people ignoring us that the police ended up getting involved to prevent people getting in the water. I’m thankful to the police for their help but they have better things to do so we try not to get them involved,” he said.

If people really want to swim, they should do so near lifeguard stations, which are marked by yellow and red flags, Mr Uten advised.

He also warned against wearing long-sleeved shirts and jeans in the water, as the clothes become heavy and make it difficult to swim.

Mr Prathaiyut repeated his plea for tourists to obey red-flag warnings at beaches, stressing that even though the lifeguards are well trained to handle the risks, they may not be able to save every single swimmer that ignores the flags.

— Chutharat Plerin

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Phuket declares rabies outbreak zone in Chalong

The Thaiger



Phuket declares rabies outbreak zone in Chalong | The Thaiger

A district livestock development office in Phuket province has announced a Rabies outbreak zone in the Chalong area yesterday.

Sutat Niyomthai, Chief of livestock development officer of Mueang Phuket District, has announced that the Baan Na Yai, Moo 4 village in Tambon Chalong is a designated outbreak zone after a dog tested positive for Rabies.

A rabies temporary control zone will run from January 17 to February 16 in a radius around the Moo 4 village in Tambon Chalong:

• North to Baan Ketho in Moo 7, Kathu.

• South: to Baan Bang Kontee in Moo 5, Rawai.

• East: To Baan Borea in Moo 6, Wichit.

• West: To Karon Temple in Moo 1, Karon.

Phuket declares rabies outbreak zone in Chalong | News by The ThaigerPhuket declares rabies outbreak zone in Chalong | News by The Thaiger

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Chumphon woman, working in Phuket, wins first prize in lottery

The Thaiger



Chumphon woman, working in Phuket, wins first prize in lottery | The Thaiger

A woman from Chumphon, who helps out her sister in Phuket, returned to her hometown last week where she bought a lottery ticket.

The ticket won her the first prize in the lottery.

38 year old Thai woman Chonrada Laimer from Chumphon went to Chalong Police Station yesterday with the first prize lottery ticket number 197079. The weekly lottery numbers were announced yesterday. She claims 6 million baht as the first prize.

Khun Chonrada says, “I am from Chumphon. I help my sister to sell goods in Rawai during high season. I had to visit my home in Chumphon last week and bought the lottery ticket there. It is the number of my car number plate. Then I returned to Phuket.”

“I am very happy. I will use this money to fix my parent’s house. I will still help my sister to sell goods.”

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Australian woman deported for overstaying visa by over 100 days

The Thaiger



Australian woman deported for overstaying visa by over 100 days | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Facebook/Claire Johnson

An Australian woman, who was caught overstaying her visa by 111 days, will be released from detention and deported by Thai authorities tonight.

She came to the media’s attention on Monday after sending urgent messages to a friend saying that she was being taken to a detention centre and that “they are taking my phone”.

46 year old Claire Amelia Johnson is an Australian Gold Coast resident. She will depart Bangkok on a QANTAS flight scheduled to arrive in Sydney tomorrow (Friday) morning.

She was due to return to Australia more than a week ago but on Monday evening sent messages to her friend Juliet Potter and told her that she was in an immigration detention centre in Bangkok and begged her to please “help me”.

Read The Thaiger story about her desperate pleas HERE.

Ms Johnson had been running a medical tourism business called Cosmetic Holidays International that offered cosmetic packages in Phuket”.

The business was voluntarily deregistered with the Australian Securities Commission in May 2017, after five years of operation, but her social media accounts continued to promote her cosmetic-surgery tourism business.

Thailand’s immigration chief, Surachate Hakparn, told Australia’s Fairfax media that Ms Johnson had been arrested, as well as fined, and would be deported after overstaying her tourist visa by more than 100 days.

“My Immigration Department will send her to Australia. She leaves tonight.”

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade would say only that it was “providing consular assistance to an Australian woman detained in Thailand”, without naming Claire.

Australian woman deported for overstaying visa by over 100 days | News by The Thaiger

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