Four French women rescued at Thai beach after near drowning in flash rip current
Lifeguards rescued four French women at Surin Beach, on Phuket’s west coast, after they were swept away by a flash rip current in a red-flag “no swimming” zone yesterday afternoon.
Surin Beach Lifeguard Captain Sayan Bureerak spotted four swimmers in trouble in a flash rip. This zone was clearly marked with red flags, and lifeguards had been patrolling hourly to remind beach visitors not to swim there,” an eyewitness said today.
“Four female visitors from France did not heed the red flags, and tried to go swimming,” the eyewitness added.
“Surin lifeguards immediately responded. Two of the victims had not gone out too far, and lifeguards were able to direct them back to the safe area.
“However, two others were unable to return on their own and had to be towed in by lifeguards using rescue tubes.”
The four tourists received assistance on the beach, and were able to walk away after some time to rest and recover from the incident, reported the eyewitness.
He also commented that lifeguards are struggling to keep up at dangerous times during the southwest monsoon season, due to staffing and budgets for Phuket’s lifeguards having been cut over the past two years.
The “flash rip” is a quick-striking and unusually powerful outgoing current. First described in 2010 by local surfer S. A. Martin, “The flash rip is the Phuket cocktail, a deadly mixture of short-period and long-period wave activity unique to the region.
This translates to what we see at our Phuket beaches: one minute the swimmer/tourist is standing in waist-deep water, marveling in the moment at the beauty of Phuket; the next minute they are swept off their feet and carried out to sea.”