Indian tourist dies on `sea walk` tour in Thailand

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 17:34

Bangkok: An Indian tourist died of heart failure after he went for a "sea walk" near Thailand`s popular beach town of Pattaya, bringing the country`s marine safety standards under the scanner yet again.

The unnamed Indian tourist apparently went out on a sea-walking tour and died of heart failure on February 27.

Sea-walking offers tourists the opportunity to walk on the sea floor wearing helmets and surface-supplied air to witness the corals and marine life at Koh Larn.

This is not the first fatality of a sea-walking tourist in Pattaya. In 2010, another Indian tourist had died during an excursion.

In both the 2010 and 2014 cases, the operator told customers and authorities that the diver died of heart failure, not due to any equipment defect, reports said.

"Before he entered the water we asked the tourist whether he suffered from any disease. The dead man and his wife confirmed they did not," said Thanwat Thittirattasaj, a representative from Jack & Joy Company, the sea-walker tour firm who organised the trip on which the tourist died.

Pattaya`s Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh and Watchara Jiemanukul of the Pattaya Marine Department met with operators of all 12 sea-walker companies on March 12 in the beach town about an hour-and-a-half from Bangkok, the Pattaya Mail said.

The meeting was ordered by Chonburi province Governor Khomsan Ekachai after reports that the Indian tourist died on a recent tour, again casting a harsh light on Pattaya`s marine-safety record.
Despite more than a decade of occasional scrutiny and promises of reform, the city`s sea-walker business remains unregulated with firms operating without any government oversight, the Mail said.

"The governor has become increasingly worried since now zoning models have been implemented to increase safety for swimmers and jet skis, but safety in sea-walker diving has not been mentioned and no regulations have been implemented," Ekasingh said.
"The meeting was to invite businesses to reach an understanding regarding safety standards, prices, service quality and inspection of the number of operating businesses.
Ekasingh confirmed that "sea-walker diving is still an activity that that has not been approved by any agency. Hence, there has to be a safety inspection conducted plus the Marine Department has to study the boat-registration guidelines".

PTI

First Published: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 17:34

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