A Norwegian tourist has sustained severe injuries to his foot from a suspected shark bite while swimming in the sea close to Sai Noi Beach in Prachuap Khiri Khan province. Sai Noi Beach is approximately 10 miles (16kms) south of central Hua Hin. The beach is currently closed to the public and swimming in the area is prohibited.
The theory that it was a shark that bit the tourist was initially given credence by the abbot of nearby Wat Tham Khao Tao. The temple has an elevated position overlooking the sea and it is from here that the abbot noticed sharks swimming in the area earlier in the year. More recently he filmed sharks swimming in the sea close to Sai Noi Beach. Marine experts believe they are bull sharks.
The incident with the tourist took place on April 15. The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources despatched a patrol team to carry out a survey of the area amid concerns that the incident will have a negative impact on the local tourist industry. Officials were initially unable to confirm whether it was a shark bite or not, but it now appears that a bite from a young bull shark is the most likely explanation. The wife of the injured tourist was reported as saying that they love the Hua Hin area and the unfortunate incident would not discourage them from visiting again in the future.
On April 20, local authorities in Prachuap Khiri Khan province announced the temporary closure of Sai Noi Beach with swimming in the area also prohibited until at least mid-May. When the beach reopens, buoys and nets will be in place around the swimming area as an added safety measure. Patrol boats and drones continue to monitor the sea and tourists are being asked to use some caution when swimming at other beaches near Hua Hin. The main advice being issued is:
- Don’t swim more than 20 metres from the beach
- Don’t swim alone
- Avoid deep or murky water
- Don’t swim in swimwear with highly contrasting colours or wear shiny jewellery in the sea