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Koh Tao, that has become notorious for tourist deaths, has struck again, this time with the death of a 39 nine year old first time diver. Rocio Leticia Gomez, like many before her, arrived on Koh Tao looking for her dream vacation. She chose to learn to dive and explore Koh Tao above and below its shores. She chose the Pura Vida Dive for her sub aquatic adventure that resulted in her death.
It is unclear exactly how this woman met her demise, however Phiyapong Boonkaew, head of the Koh Tao police reported today that the local police are “investigating the circumstances” of the accident that resulted in the death of the Argentine tourist.
Pura Vida say that the woman was lost on a dive with an instructor, a second inexperienced diver and one other diver with some experience. The woman was found by another diver and taken to hospital by boat on the 17th of December where she died four days later.
In a post on social media the dive school said “All standards of safety and professionalism were met, and the witnesses exculpate the instructor from the event, but that does not avoid the total and absolute moral responsibility of the instructor and Pura Vida Koh Tao in the accident. We continue to collaborate in everything to clarify every minute detail”
However, this is not the first time Pura Vida have been involved in the death of a tourist. On 22 December 2014, a Pura Vida dive boat did travel over the top of a group of five divers at Tao Tong (Gold Turtle), Koh Tao. Four of the five divers managed to evade the boat but Silje Mathisen (22) was seen by at least two of the divers being sucked into the propeller which struck her head, scuba tank and leg. She died of her injuries shortly after. The divers estimate that the incident occurred 75 – 100 metres from the spot where their boat, the “Manta Ray” of Scuba Junction Diving (the company she was diving with) was moored. Silje (pronounced “Silye”) and her lifelong friend, Sigrid Simensen were two Norwegian girls only seven minutes into their very first scuba lesson, a PADI Discover Scuba Diving (“DSD”) lesson.
Koh Tao has a reputation for an extraordinary amount of tourist deaths, while many of them remain unexplained and suspicious the brutal murders of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller made the worldwide headlines in 2014, in contrast this latest incident has taken nearly a month to reach the attention of even the local press, as did the disappearance of Valentina Novozhenova who went missing on February 2017, this news only hit the press when the Samui Times broke the story, three weeks after her disappearance and only then did anybody think to look for her.
A video casting outrage over Koh Tao’s macabre reputation was produced earlier this year.