Phuket tourist dies after Kata Beach rescue

PHUKET: A Swiss man died after falling unconscious while swimming at Kata Beach yesterday.

Kathu Police confirmed that a Swiss man was pronounced dead at around 5pm at Patong Hospital following an incident at Kata Beach.

Witnesses reported to lifeguards at about 4:30pm that they saw the man “swimming” about 150 meters from shore, Uten Singsom, head of the Kata-Karon Lifeguard Club told the Phuket Gazette.

Lifeguards found him floating face-down and pulled him ashore, he said.

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“The waves were not strong… From what I could tell, I don’t think this was a case where the death was due to drowning. He was an older man and health issues could have been involved,” Mr Uten said.

“When a person is experiencing difficulties in the water, they will call for help, but in this case there were no calls for help. The lifeguards were scanning the water and witnesses said they saw him swimming out there about 150 meters from shore, which is quite far,” Mr Uten added.

Mr Uten also explained that the man was found face down on the surface of the water, which is unusual because a person’s body normally sinks during drowning.

“I arrived about five minutes after receiving the call on my radio and my friend, Khun Wilot, had been administering CPR for about 10 minutes. We continued for about 30 minutes,” he said.

The man was then loaded into an ambulance and taken to Patong Hospital, he said.

“He did not have a pulse and was not breathing while we were administering CPR,” Mr Uten said.

He added that he could smell alcohol on the man.

The Swiss Embassy in Bangkok confirmed that a Swiss national died in Phuket. The Gazette is withholding the man’s name at this time, pending notification of kin.

Phuket-based freelance journalist GrantPhuket posted a video of the rescue effort and an interview with Mr Uten here.

— Michael DesPortes

Phuket News

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

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