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Bereaved father pleads with tourists to take precautions after his son dies in Koh Tao

A bereaved father has contacted the Samui Times after his son lost his life on a snorkel tour on the notorious island of Koh Tao on March 18th 2019.

Sanjai Jain got in touch with the Samui Times when, to his surprise, no Thai news channels covered the story of his son’s death.  

Samyak Choudhary, a qualified Software Engineer, graduated in 2017 from premier Indian Institute, Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, India. He was working with a fast growing technology driven company , namely 1 MG Technologies Private Limited, Gurugarm, India.

He and his friend decided to visit Koh Tao, while they were there Samyak took part in a snorkeling tour with Oxygen Tour Koh Tao. This was Samyak’s first visit to Thailand. Although Samyak was not an experienced snorkeler he could certainly swim and was looking forward to discovering Koh Tao’s marine life. While on the tour to Ao Hin Wong Bay Samyak was seen motionless floating on the water by another tourist on the same tour. The tourist alerted one of the tour guides and he was taken from the water onto the boat where CPR was successfully administered.  He was taken and admitted to Koh Samui hospital for treatment but medical reports suggest that he was already brain dead from prolonged lack of oxygen to the brain. He was then taken to the Bangkok Hospital for further treatment, sadly he was declared dead on the 24th March 2019.

One aspect of his son’s death Sanjai has not been able to explain is why there was blood coming out of the nose of his son and no explanation by the tour guides or medical staff has been forthcoming. While Sanjai did not immediately think there was anything in the way of foul play this is one fact that he has no explanation for. He is also concerned that his son’s backpack was found in a damaged condition, although his travel companion believes it may have been damaged on the boat, mysteriously the SIM card of his son’s phone was also missing; it’s unclear whether or not money was also missing from his belongings. No autopsy was carried out in either Thailand or India where his body was repatriated with help from the Indian embassy.

While in Koh Tao Samyak was staying at the Good Dream Hotel on Sairee Beach.

Father Sanjai Jain believes “We lost our only son as the life guards of the diving shop Oxygen Tour failed to perform their duties”. He asked that we publish his story in order to urge tourist to take extra precautions when they book tours with diving shops and asks that the diving shops become more vigilant when it comes to safety and the security of their customers. He said “Further, we want people responsible for the death of our son to be duly punished for their negligence / crime.

Sanjai is also concerned at the lack of police investigation into his son’s death. He said “Snorkel equipment and the life jacked used by my son might have been taken into safe custody by the local police, they may have interviewed other tourists [to establish what happed to him] but surprisingly nothing was done”.

The Samui Times have contacted Oxygen Tour but at the time of publication have received no reply.

Sanjai is not the only parent who is concerned by the lack of investigation into his son’s death. Pat Harrington, who lost her son Ben in August 2012 believes her son was the victim of foul play after he was found dead on the island. She has heavily criticized the local police for not properly investigating her son’s death.  The family of Nick Pearson who lost his life in mysterious circumstances on New Year’s Eve 2014, they believe he was murdered and have criticized the Koh Tao police for their lack of proper investigation. The family of Christina Annesley also believe her death in January 2015 was not investigated, her father Boyne was very critical of the Thai police who did not even bother to speak to the man who last saw her alive. The family of Luke Miller also believe their son’s death in January 2016 was not investigated properly and are concerned about foul play. The families of all these British victims got together and petitioned the UK government to investigate foreign deaths in Thailand. In September 2014 Koh Tao grabbed the world’s headlines when British backpackers Hannah Witheridge and David Miller were found brutally murdered on Sairee Beach, the same year Swiss Hans Peter Suter went missing while snorkeling, his body was recovered after 2 other unidentified Caucasian bodies also recovered in the area turned out not to be him. In the same year French born Dimitri Povse was found hung with his hands tied behind his back. In February 2017 Russian Valentina Novozhyonova went missing never to be seen again, a search for her did not commence until 3 weeks after his disappearance when the Samui Times broke the story. Belgium traveler Elise Dallamange was found dead on the island in the same year, no explanation has ever been given for her death.

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