10 tourists stranded on Chumphon island as hit by high waves

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CHUMPHON, Dec 25 – Ten tourists were stranded on Phithak island as four-metre high waves struck six districts of Chumphon province on Sunday.

Uthai Kunthawong, acting chief of Chumphon’s mitigation and disaster prevention office, said six districts –Pathiu, Muang Chunphon, Saw, Thung Tako, Lang Suan and Lamae, were directly hit by the high waves.

Mr Uthai said so far there were no reports of deaths and concerned agencies are now surveying the damages.

Bangnamjued Subdistrict Administration Organisation president Banyong Intamat revealed that about ten tourists were stranded in Phithak island, the resort island well-known for its homestay facilities, as the incident occurred suddenly and they could not leave the island in time.

Some 30 houses on the island were also damaged by the huge waves and flooding seawater but both tourists and local residents have already moved to higher ground.

In nearby Nakhon Si Thammarat province, a three-metre wave severely affected Pak Panang district. The authorities announced the closing of the seaside road route from Pak Panang to Hua Sai over fears that commuters would be endangered.

A fishermen’s village in Laem Talumpuk sub-district was also damaged by the high waves, as the powerful wave felled coconut trees in the village.

Sompong Opang, 41, a Pak Panang resident, said he had never seen such strong waves and this incident was frightening.

Mr Sompong said the high wave began in early December but the strength intensified on Sunday, sweeping debris into roads and houses, while seawater also spilled over into 14 fishery ponds.