Watersports firms told to beef up safety following Phuket parasailing tragedy

5
2456
Police went to sea with NPE Pattaya Co. and tried out their parasailing operation to see for themselves the various safety measures taken.
Police went to sea with NPE Pattaya Co. and tried out their parasailing operation to see for themselves the various safety measures taken.

Pattaya watersports operators have been told to beef up safety precautions following the death of an Australian parasailer in Phuket.

Pattaya and Tourist Division police met with representatives of 16 companies offering parasailing and sea-walking adventures July 14, a day after Chonburi’s governor called on all the province’s watersports operators to recheck safety equipment and follow regulations.

The meeting followed the July 11 death of 70-year-old Aussie tourist John Hussey, who fell out of his parasailing harness off Kata Beach in Phuket. He died of his injuries at Patong Hospital. The operators, who have been arrested and charged with negligence, claimed the victim pulled on a ring that had secured him in the harness.

Police also stressed their concern about an alleged sexual assault on a 13-year-old American-Thai girl by a Cambodian crewman on a sea-walker boat July 10. Wan Sa-gnuan, 27, was taken into custody after the girl’s mother reported he had touched her inappropriately. The Khmer man said the contact was unintentional while he was helping her out of the water and posing her for a photo.

At the two-hour meeting, officers questioned operators about their businesses and safety measures, as well as staff problems. They recommended ways to solve problems to prevent damage to Pattaya’s tourism industry.

After the meeting, Pol. Col. Sarawuth Tankul, deputy superintendent of the Pattaya tourist police, said insuring customers remains a problem, as Thai coverage providers have insisted on getting names and personal details of customers before they hit the water.

He said authorities also warned operators to vigilantly check customers for any health conditions that could endanger them during their outing.

Police then went to sea with NPE Pattaya Co. and tried out their parasailing operation to see for themselves the various safety measures taken.

NPE executive Nattapong Manasom said he has been offering watersports adventures to tourists for 20 years and has never had a serious accident. The reason for that is that he regularly checks all his equipment, replaces parachutes every six months and enforces health standards before allowing customers on his boats.

Chonburi Gov. Pakarathorn Thienchai, in his statement, said tourists should feel safe about coming to play on the beach or in the water on the Eastern Seaboard.

“We have lifeguards on the beach and facilities to ensure safety 24 hours a day,” he said. “The incident that occurred in Phuket should be a lesson all tourism cities should learn from and adjust safety regulations where appropriate.”