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On the 29th of October the Samui Times reported on a story about Belgian tourist being rescue from the sea after being lost for over five hours in the waves. Initial reports suggested that the young woman had an argument with her boyfriend and gone off kayaking before falling into the water and being swept away by a current. She was only rescued after a passing fisherman noticed her frantic waving.
The Samui Times have now been given information that suggests a member of a local rescue team had been called out to the couples resort in Maenam the day before the rescue to disarm an argument between the young woman and her boyfriend. When the rescue member arrived at the couples resort a staff member told him that the man had gone to bed and pointed to the woman who was bobbing about on the ocean about 2 kilometers from the shore. Staff told the rescue member that the young woman had swam out around 500 meters directly after the argument before coming back to shore and swimming out and in again, on her third swim out she did not come back. The staff at the resort were very concerned about the woman who seemed to be acting in a rather irrational fashion since she returned from the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan that morning.
The rescue team member told the Samui Times he was rather reluctant to swim out 2 kilometers, however he realized he had to do something quickly as from that distance he could not tell if she was in trouble or not. Fortunately, with the lack of rescue boats in Samui a Dutch man at the resort agreed to kayak out with him. When they reached the woman by kayak she capsized the Dutch man’s kayak trying to get on it, the woman who was described as “spaced out” then managed to get onto the kayak of the rescue worker.
When they arrived back at shore the rescue worker spoke to the girl and told her the dangers of swimming out alone at night and told her of recent box jellyfish reports and suggested that she get some sleep before her flight home later on that day.
The following day the rescue worker was horrified to discover the woman had once again gone off kayaking alone after she had been due to return to Belgium, and was only rescued by luck when a fisherman saw her.
As well as this raising concerns about the mentality of the Belgium tourist, it also raises concerns about the lack of safety measures in place should tourist get into trouble on the sea. Koh Samui does not have lifeguards along its coasts unlike Phuket and Pattaya or jet ski rescue stations with trained life guards. The Monk at Wat Pli laem has a rescue team and an inflatable boat, but that, to the best of our knowledge is the only ocean rescue team in Samui, and if so leaves anybody enjoying the oceans rather vulnerable.