In the wake of a double drowning at Koh Chang involving a Spanish woman and a French man, a British man and a Thai tourist have now been reported as drowning at a Phuket beach.  In both tragedies, the deaths occurred when the swimmers ignored red flag warnings about dangerous conditions.  

In the most recent incident, which occurred on Thursday (14th July), a British citizen on his honeymoon ignored the red flag warning at Kata Noi Beach, before being washed away by the waves.  He was identified as Mr. Ali Mohammed Mian, 34 years old. 

A Thai man who was swimming nearby, attempted to assist but also became a victim of the conditions.  He was identified as Surasit Ponglauhaphan, aged 55 years, who had been traveling with wife and son.  Both men had been staying at the same hotel.

Before the incident at Kata Noi beach, officials had put red flags on beaches along the coast to dissuade tourists from swimming because of monsoonal conditions strong winds.  A lifeguard, Mr. Teerawat Pachanthabutr, said he had warned both tourists not to swim, a warning that was apparently ignored. 

Lifeguards are on duty every day, however with they were unable to prevent the tragedy. 

Many foreign tourists simply ignore the no-swimming flags, often with tragic consequences, Phuket governor Noraphat Plodthong said on Wednesday.  He was expressing his regret over the drowning of a Chinese tourist at Kamala beach on Tuesday.

Mr Noraphat said red flags at beaches in Phuket to specifically warn tourists of the dangerous conditions at this time of year. He would call a meeting on Thursday to draw up additional measures to help prevent more drownings.

Sadly this is not uncommon in the monsoon season with strong rip tides often present.  Just because other people may be in the water apparently coping with the conditions doesn’t mean it is safe to swim. 

When the red flags are flying, stay in the swimming pool!