Thursday, October 3, 2013

Thailand: Negligent Parasailing Fatality Results in Death of Indian Tourist, 36, Scant Safety Precautions

According to The Bangkok Post, Shilpi Agarwal, 36, and Indian national and her husband hired a speedboat for the purpose of parasailing on Wednesday (October 2) near Pattaya Beach but the parasail failed to launch as a result of a lack of wind, according to police.

Tragically, the young woman plunged into the water as the driver was reversing the speedboat, resulting in Agarwal being negligently drawn into the boat's spinning propeller, killing her instantly.

Police announced they would press charges of carelessness causing death, which carries a maximum prison term of 10 years and/or a fine of 20,000 baht.

COMMENT: Reputable boat operators know all too well that parasails cannot engage without wind, yet the boat operator took the couple out anyway.

Police said Agarwal's family will receive 200,000 baht (US$6,383) from the boat's insurance company in compensation, yet the family still has the option of filing a wrongful death suit against the boat operator.

Wednesday's accident comes shortly after Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra ordered government agencies to help ensure safety of tourists using jet skis, speed boats and taxis.

Government officials and tourism operators also launched a campaign on September 24 to increase maritime safety and prevent accidents involving boats transporting tourists in waters off Pattaya and Koh Larn.

Having lived in Thailand for a number of years, foreign visitors should be fully cognizant of the fact that a significant percentage of boat operators in all categories have very little professional training, with many being incompetent when it comes to safe boat handling operations.

I strongly discourage foreigners and residents alike from participating in high-risk adventure tourism unless the competency and bona fides have been thoroughly vetted.