PHUKET – A tourist swimming at Phuket’s Kata beach today was struck by the propeller of a parasailing speedboat. One foot was badly cut, and a leg also hit.
The swimmer, Russian tourist Nikolai Nefedov, 51, was being prepared this afternoon for an operation at Vachira Phuket Hospital after being transferred from Phuket International Hospital in Phuket City.
It is believed his left foot was chopped at the heel and his right thigh was also severely cut.
The wounding of a Phuket tourist by a speedboat is likely to intensify calls for speedboats and jet-skis to be taken offshore, away from swimmers on the beaches, as proposed by Phuketwan last week.
Today’s incident happened just before 1pm when the driver of the speedboat at the popular Phuket west coast beach failed to spot the Russian tourist in the water.
Near-misses are frequent at Kata, Karon and especially at Patong, where a new plan was announced at last week’s meeting between government officials and Phuket honorary consuls to try to segregate the jet-skis and speedboats from the swimmers.
Boracay in the Philippines has solved the problem by isolating jet-skis and speedboats. They now operate from a pontoon out to sea, making the Philippines island a far safer destination for holidaymakers than Phuket.
It has been a busy few days at Kata beach, with a leading contender for King’s Cup Regatta race honors, Ichi Ban, being stuck in the sand overnight by an unexpected storm.
It was a Groundhog Day moment for the vessel, which was one of about a dozen yachts beached on the same stretch of sand last year.
On Sunday another Russian tourist, Uriu Varnakov, 57, was pulled unconscious from the water at Kata and could not be revived.