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Police probe launched after Chinese tourist suffers DCS in ‘try dive’

PHUKET: Police have launched an investigation into a Chinese tourist suffering decompression sickness after an incident during a “try dive” tour at Koh Racha Yai on Wednesday (Feb 13).


By The Phuket News

Friday 15 February 2019, 05:55PM


The Chinese tourist, Li Chunjun, 36, was rushed to Vachira Phuket Hospital in Phuket Town. Photo: Chalong Municipality

The Chinese tourist, Li Chunjun, 36, was rushed to Vachira Phuket Hospital in Phuket Town. Photo: Chalong Municipality

The probe comes at the request of the Chinese consulate in Phuket.

The tourist, Li Chunjun, 36, was rushed back by speedboat back to Chalong Pier, where EMS workers were waiting for him.

The Andaman Narenthorn emergency call centre was informed of Mr Li’s situation at 2:15pm, an emergency medical service official at Chalong Municipality confirmed.

Mr Li was first taken to the Accident & Emergency Centre at Chalong Hospital, then quickly moved to Vachira Phuket Hospital in Phuket Town.

The Chinese Consulate in Phuket has since confirmed that Mr Li has recovered and already been discharged from hospital, Chalong Police Deputy Chief Lt Col Somsak Soparak told The Phuket News today (Feb 15).

“The Chinese consulate have asked police to investigate this accident. Police are now carrying out an investigation to find out what happened,” Col Somsak said.

Capt Ekkachai Siri of the Phuket Tourist Police confirmed late this afternoon that Mr Li was staying at a hotel in Patong.

Mr Li is expected to fly home soon, Capt Ekkachai said.

News of Mr Li’s bout of DCS, also commonly called “the bends”, broke through a Facebook post by local conservation group Go Eco Phuket (see post here), which comprises many local divers working in the dive tour industry.

Go Eco Phuket Secretary Ittiput Schadt told The Phuket News today that Mr Li was exposed to DCS while on a “try dive” tour off Koh Racha.

“This try drive was to a depth of about 10 metres led by a non-certified and non-experienced male guide. The Chinese tourist suffered an embolism,” Mr Ittiput said.

“Please, the Tourism Business and Guide Registration office should check diving schools on Koh Racha to make sure dive activities are safe,” he said.

 

 

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Capt B | 18 February 2019 - 12:43:02

The outfit running the tour should have been fully aware of the existence of "SSS Hyperbaric Chamber Network Phuket". The bent Chinese diver should have been taken there immediately. No Kurt, when it comes to an Embolism, max depth of dive is not relevant. A pressure differential of say 3 FSW / 1.5psi with a full lung of air on ascent is all it takes to kill somebody. Death..

Kurt | 16 February 2019 - 10:27:54

When a person gets "the bends" it is essential he gets in a decompression chamber ASAP!  Phuket authorities should consider having a DCS decompression chamber in the new Chalong hospital.
A trip Koh Racha->Chalong Pier->Chalong clinic->Vachira hospital takes to long if the dive was deeper. Such a person can remain (partly) paralysed for rest of his life.

Kurt | 16 February 2019 - 10:16:54

The Phuket Marine Office at Chalong Pier not daily checking the boats with scuba dive equipment having certified dive instructors on board ?
Bad international news for Phuket safety records. Promises are 'empty words'.
Poor mister Li. His age and the limited dive depth ( 10 metres) saved his life.  Hope he not flys today, better for body to stay a few days longer at 'zero level'.

CaptainJack69 | 15 February 2019 - 21:57:21

The term DCS covers both 'The Bends' and embolism (think exploded lung). First aid is the same for both but hospital treatment is not. The Bends can only be treated in a re-compression chamber and I don't think Vachira has one of those. Also The Bends is really not possible in 10m of water.

This was an exploded lung brought about by negligence and greed. Safety first right?

Wiesel | 15 February 2019 - 20:56:26

in 10m inhaled compressed air expands to double volume on the way up to 0m and can/will badly hurt you if you dont exhale on the way to the surface. But its not DCS, its Air-Embolism as a result of overexpandet lung via barotrauma. Professional Instructor always will make sure studends dont stop breath esp. on the way up. If  Guide was noncertified arrest him and the Owner of the Divecenter.

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