A scuba diving trip near Koh Tachai, an island off the west coast of Thailand (Phang Gna Province), ended with the death of a Japanese woman. She bled to death after her head was slashed open by a boat propeller.
The fatal accident took place on Thursday afternoon during a 3-day-2-night diving tour. The trip was organised by South Siam Divers Co., Ltd., a diving agency on mainland Phuket with a mixed reputation. Pol Maj Gen Surachet Hakpan, Deputy Commanding General of the Tourist Police Division, confirmed the death on Saturday.
Reviewers on Karon_Phuket.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Tripadvisor.com, rated South Siam Divers 4 out of 5 points based on 450+ reviews. However, the company and its services are rated with 2.8 out of 5 points >by Google customers using the same boat. Some complained that the company did not “care about security” and often rushed their customers along. One reviewer even went so far as to say “this is when dangerous mistakes happen.”
On January 3, 37-year-old Saori Yoshida and her friends boarded the S. Somboon 3>, a 60-metre long boat with 14 cabins. The route went along the Similan archipelago in the Andaman Sea and a series of popular diving spots, Pol Maj Gen Surachet said in a press conference two days after the accident.
At about 13:00 on the second day of the trip, Ms Yoshida had prepared to enter the water with her scuba gear. As she jumped into the sea, witnesses claim she was almost immediately pulled under the boat due to the strong currents and waves. Ms Yoshida’s head ended up near the propeller where it was gashed badly causing deep and fatal head wounds.
The crew of the Somboon 3 hurried to help, recovered Ms Yoshida and rushed her in a speedboat to the 60 kilometres far away Takua Pa Hospital on the Phang Nga mainland. However, first aid and immediate attempts to save her life were in vain. According to the local tourist rescue centre, Ms Yoshida died of her wounds before she reached the local hospital.
The staff of South Siam Divers Co. Ltd. published a statement in which they said they said they deeply regretted the incident and would take full responsibility for her death. The company and an insurance firm are expected to pay one million baht to her next of kin.
Ms Yoshida’s body was sent to Takua Pa Hospital for a full medical examination while police continue to handle the case. Ms Yoshida’s family, as well as the Japanese Embassy in Bangkok, have already been notified of the tragic accident.
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