Move to Halt Tourist Deaths
Authorities in Preah Sihanouk province called on all visitors to be more vigilant and not drink alcohol before swimming in the ocean and also asked all tour boat operators and fishermen to temporarily suspend their businesses after two people drowned and several dozen were rescued due to bad weather.
Provincial police chief Major General Choun Naren said that after the drowning incident, about 900 rescue workers, ambulances, police boats and jet skis have been deployed around the province’s beaches and islands to protect visitors’ safety and provide rescue services in a timely manner.
“We will send police boats and jet skis using loudspeakers to tell them to return to the shore or go ashore,” Maj. Gen. Naren said.
The measures were taken on Friday after two visitors drowned in Sihanoukville and another was rescued by provincial police. Kan Kuyheang, 48, from Kampong Cham province, drowned at Ochheuteal Beach, while an Indian tourist, 36-year-old Naveen Sharma, drowned at Victory Beach.
Maj. Gen. Naren said that earlier this year, six foreign and local visitors died, with most of the foreigners drowning as a result of drinking alcohol prior to going for a swim.
“Foreigners and local visitors should get information from nearby provincial authorities. They should not swim after drinking alcohol,” he said.
Provincial tourism department director Taing Sochet Kreusna said that in the past, his department had told visitors about bad weather and employed lifeguards to monitor the beach and provide rescue services. However, the department will employ an additional five lifeguards throughout the province.
According to a Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology statement, people should be careful during storms that may occur from yesterday until Friday, as a tropical storm recently made landfall in Vietnam. Heavy rain and high winds are expected to hit coastal areas of the Kingdom.
San Chey, executive director for the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said the rescue efforts of provincial authorities was still lacking.
“Authorities should take more measures and provide better rescue efforts to save people’s lives,” he said.
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