However, the Phuket governor and top officials at Kamala and Mai Khao have confirmed that tsunami alarm towers went off at around 10am yesterday, causing people in the area to panic.
“More than a hundred people on Nai Yang Beach panicked when the alarm went off,” said Sarawut Srisakukarm, president of the Mai Khao Tambon Administration Organization (TAO).
“Normally I get advanced messages about tsunami and earthquake alarms [being sounded], but this time I got nothing – they just started sounding.
“Some people saw that the water was not receding, so they stayed and watched the situation. Finally, at about 2pm, we found out that nothing was happening and we explained that to everyone,” Mr Sarawut said.
A similar scene unfolded at Kamala Beach.
Kitikraisi Keiwwan, vice-president of the Kamala TAO, told the Gazette, “Many people along Kamala Beach panicked. We checked and no tsunami warning had been issued. It was quite confusing because if there was no warning, why were the alarms sounding?
“At the time, many people were waiting for direction from officials. We had many calls,” he said.
“Once we confirmed that there was no warning, we announced via local loudspeakers. Now everything is back to normal,” Mr Kitikraisi said.
However, the NDWC in Nonthaburi, which oversees the tsunami alarm towers in question, dismissed the incident as a “rumor”.
NDWC Director Somsak Khaosuwan said, “We insist the alarms did not sound. It was just a rumor coming from different places in Phuket, such as Kamala, Patong and Nai Yang.
“We have already checked on this and sent word [of the rumor] via public television channels,” he added.
The message broadcast on television stated:
“At present, there is a rumor of tsunami warning towers sounding in many places in Phuket province. This has caused panic among the people.
“The NDWC has already investigated and proven this is not true and we would like the public to recognize that.”
The chief of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Phuket said that the alarms were not an actual warning from the NDWC, but were likely the result of electronic malfunction.
Provincial Hall today issued a statement saying that Governor Tri Augkaradacha had checked with the NDWC and found that they had not sounded the alarms and that no provincial-level organizations had received a tsunami warning.
The governor urged the NDWC to look into the problem urgently as he does not want the problem happening again, said the statement.
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