Connect with us

Thai Life

Phuket’s jet-skiers play good samaritans

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: In a humanitarian effort, 13 members of the Patong Jet Ski Club traveled from Phuket to the flooded regions in and near Bangkok where they used jet-skis to rescue more than 600 people and distribute emergency food rations to stranded victims who were unwilling to leave their homes.

Somkid Kueanun, a 36-year-old Phuket native and head of both the Patong Jet Ski Club and Patong Life Guard Group, accepted the invitation from the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation to help the flood victims. They ran a rescue operation from October 17 to October 23.

“I received an invitation from the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation to bring my jet skis to help flood victims in the central part of Thailand. They had offered to transport the club’s jet- skis to Bangkok for us and cover all expenses for the mission,” Somkid said.

Somkid then asked all of the jet ski operators in his jet-ski club to see if anyone was willing to help. They did not hesitate to volunteer. “In 2004, when the tidal wave hit Phuket and other provinces in the south, we received so much help from everyone. I thought it was time for us to repay their generosity,” he added.

The thirteen Patong Jet Ski Club members loaded nine jet skis onto trucks and took them to Bangkok.

The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation provided them with a ten-wheeler truck to transport their jet-skis. They drove three of their own trucks there as well.

“We left Phuket on October 17 and arrived at the flood relief center at Don Muang Airport on October 18. When we arrived, there was chaos. We wasted a whole day trying to figure out who to contact. Finally, the Mirror Foundation told us where we could start our rescue mission,” Mr Somkid remarked.

Mr Somporn Khanpakdee, a 34-year-old man from Phang Nga, is one of the members of the jet-ski club who went to Bangkok.

“Our mission started at the Navanakorn community in Prathumthani province. Our main goal was to relocate the flood victims to a safer place. When we first arrived, the water was already up to our waists. When we were done for the day, around 8pm, the flood water was around 2 meters deep. In that one day we rescued about 600 people from the area,” affirmed Mr Somporn.

There were a few obstacles, but the mission was a success. The main problem was that debris in the water was constantly getting caught in the jet-ski propellers. They had to jump off the jet skis and dive into the water in order to clear the propellers. “I can’t tell you how disgusting the water was,” he added.

On subsequent days of the mission, the team transported the sick and elderly to safety, and distributed food rations to those who were unwilling to leave their homes.

“We went to Wang Noi and Bang Pa In in Ayutthaya, and Bang Bua Thong in Nonthaburi on the following days. We went there to rescue people from their homes and to provide them with food rations,” said Somporn.

Unfortunately, there were a few profiteers who threatened violence against the team for relocating victims without charging them a fee. “The biggest problem we faced was some local long-tail boat operators who were charging people for transporting them to safety. They got upset with us and threatened us with a gun because we were helping people for free. They felt that we were stealing their customers,” he disclosed.

“We are done with our mission, but there’s still a lot we could do. We returned to Phuket on October 22, but we all felt we should have stayed longer. If anyone could provide us with a ten-wheeler truck to carry our jet skis back to Bangkok, we would gladly return there,” announced Mr Somkid.

When asked if they were motivated to help the flood victims in order to improve the image of jet-ski operators in Phuket, he quickly responded: “We don’t care about our image. We didn’t do this to change anyone’s attitude toward us. We just wanted to offer help to those in need. After all, we’re all Thai, and no one should be left on their own in such a difficult situation.”

— Chaiyot Yongcharoenchai


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:

Thailand2 hours ago

Phang Nga reopening and “Phuket Sandbox” island hop extensions postponed

Best of2 hours ago

Bangkok’s 5 best SHA Plus Certified hotels

Best of3 hours ago

Top 5 steakhouses in Phuket

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!

Thailand3 hours ago

Bangkok Train Market official says they will reopen

Thailand3 hours ago

August vaccination plan: 80% of Bangkok residents; open to general public, expats

Thailand3 hours ago

300 beds added to Phuket’s second field hospital

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand3 hours ago

The Thaiger launches the ‘I Am Strong’ campaign

Indonesia4 hours ago

Earthquake hits Papua, Indonesia

Thailand4 hours ago

Thailand News Today | More Dark red zones, ‘coup rumour’ quashed | August 2

Thailand4 hours ago

Man arrested for allegedly robbing 7-Eleven stores in Bangkok to pay off gambling debt

Thailand5 hours ago

Protestors fill Bangkok streets to protest Prayut, many protest leaders present

Crime5 hours ago

Teenagers arrested for allegedly running underage prostitution racket

Thailand6 hours ago

PM’s daughters get letter asking them to tell their father to resign

Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

Monday Covid Update: 17,970 new cases, provincial totals

News7 hours ago

Police bust gambling operations in Bangkok and Kamphaeng Phet

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

Thailand7 months ago

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

Thailand7 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