After child suffers animal bite, Phuket beach cleared for patrols

Authorities patrol Kamala Beach, photo by PR Phuket.

After an 8 year old Thai-Ukrainian boy was injured in a suspected shark attack on Tuesday, Phuket’s Kamala Beach was cleared of swimmers for lifeguards, police and officials to patrol. The chief of Kathu district told The Phuket News that there were still beachgoers, and the patrol was meant to warn tourists to be careful of ‘aquatic animals’. But photos showed that there were hardly any beachgoers.

It’s still not confirmed whether the animal that bit the boy was a shark, or something else. Locals and sellers who witnessed the incident believed that it could have been a seapike fish, or a species of barracuda. Tourists have reportedly been attacked by these types of fish in the past. In 2017, Phuket’s governor said it was a barracuda that attacked a Japanese man, forcing him to get 50 stitches.

But after Tuesday’s attack, the island province’s leading marine biologist Dr. Kongkiat Kittiwattanawong insists it was a small shark that bit the young boy. He added, however, that it is not confirmed which shark species it was.

“It’s very unlikely to have been a blacktip shark due to the nature of the attack being very violent. The injuries are believed to be caused by a bull shark.”

Dr. Kongkiat believes the Japanese man attacked in 2017 was also attacked by a shark, even though Phuket’s governor at the time said it was a barracuda. One of Kamala Beach’s lifeguards said that if news goes out that the recent attack was a shark attack, there will “for sure” be an impact on tourism in the area. He said there won’t be an impact on tourism if it’s reported as a barracuda bite.

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Kamala Beach is located on Phuket’s west coast.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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