Teen dies from drowning after falling off swimming-area buoy


Pattaya’s new swimming-area buoys are being blamed for another death after a fully dress 19-year-old took a stroll on one of the pontoons, fell off and drowned.

Marine rescuers took five hours to recover the body of Cholthawat Thammontree from the choppy waters of Jomtien Beach near Soi 8 April 1. More than 100 personnel participated in the search complicated by strong waves and currents. The body was found 100 meters from the point where he fell in.

Cholthawat Thammontree’s mother Bunrang had this photo of her son on her phone before his untimely death.Cholthawat Thammontree’s mother Bunrang had this photo of her son on her phone before his untimely death.

Friend Athit Chaiawut, 18, said a group of 10 adults and youths were eating on the beach when Cholthawat, still dressed in long black pants and a short-sleeved shirt, decided to walk along the flat and wide buoys designed to keep jet skis and boats out of swimming areas.

A large wave hit the Chaiyaphum native and he tumbled into the sea and drowned before any of his group could rescue him.

Mother Bunrang Thammontree, 45, said her son had recently graduated high school and was planning to enter university to prepare for a career either in medicine or government.

The death is the second – the first confirmed – attributed to the buoys which are being installed to replace smaller, round swimming-area markers. Numerous injuries also have been reported, all of which are blamed on swimmers walking on buoys never designed to double as swimmer platforms.

Pattaya officials have begun modifying their design to put more space between the buoys, in hopes of discouraging walking. But Pattaya-area lifeguard stations remain empty with virtually no one actually watching swimmers to prevent the undesired behavior.