Two South Korean men, who were playing golf while vacationing in Thailand, drowned after their buggy collided with their wives’ and knocked them into the river. The bodies of the deceased were discovered by the police Thursday.
The men who died were identified as Sung Jun-yong, 68, and Ha Jae-oong, 76. They arrived with their spouses in Thailand on Christmas Eve. The duo wasin one buggy, with their wives on another, as they used a ferry to cross the Nan River, which flowed through the golf course in Tambon Sri Phirom, Phitsanulok province of northern Thailand. Their buggy was accidentally rammed by the cart which was carrying their wives and all four of them fell into the waters, Strait Times reported.
District police Lieutenant Colonel Suwat Suawatmontri said the two women were promptly rescued by nearby fishermen.
“Their wives said both are able to swim but I think the cause of drowning was the strong undercurrent,” he added.
A search and rescue team of more than 50 members of the military and police were deployed in locating the tourists. While one body was discovered around two kilometers (1.2 miles) from the accident site, the other was discovered by the villagers “floating near a temple.”
The country’s tourism industry, which draws more than 35 million visitors each year, took a serious hit when a ferry carrying 105 people – mostly Chinese tourists – capsized in southern Thailand in July. The incident ended up killing 47 people.
Following the accident, thenumber of visitors to the nation droppedsignificantly, with China – which accounted for almost a quarter of Thailand’s 35 million tourists in 2017 – blaming the country’s lax safety rules.
In October, Ittirith Kinglake, the president of the tourism council of Thailand said: “There used to be seven to 12 charter flights per day from China to Krabi. Now it’s down to three flights per day with some having two to three people on board.”
It also did not help matters when Prawit Wongsuwan, the minister of defense of Thailand, blamed the tragedy on Chinese tour operators acting through Thai nominees. He later retracted thestatements after facing backlash, South China Morning Post reported.
Minister of Tourism and Sports Weerasak Kowsurat, meanwhile, stressed that there would be “no compromising on safety.”
“Nobody wants them [accidents] to happen … we must have safety and management procedures in place, and leave no room for compromise. If we become known as a country that does not compromise on safety, it will become another plus point for us to be recognized for not being lax in our standards,” he added.
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