German tourists rescued after getting blown out to sea while kayaking
Two hapless German tourists had to be rescued after they were blown out to sea while kayaking.
Benedikt Niklas Martin Hoppe, 22, and his girlfriend Franziska Marie Drews-Von Ruckteschell, 22, were paddling in a yellow kayak when the waves became stronger followed by heavy rain in Phuket, Thailand on August 22.
Due to the strong winds and currents, the bungling couple were stranded in the water as they were unable to summon the strength to paddle back to shore. They frantically called their hotel on their smartphone to plead for help from staff.
A rescue boat was sent to the couple which found them 3km away from shore near Tanan island before they were taken back to the hotel safely.
Benedikt said: ‘The weather was fair when we went out in the kayaks but it changed so quickly. I’m very grateful that we were rescued.’
The couple were uninjured and returned to their hotel after being reminded by officers to take care in exploring the island.
Police Lieutenant Likit Sangkara said: ‘The tourists were rescued and brought back to shore safely. They thanked us and said they were impressed with our services.’
They arrived in the country for the first time on July 24 as part of the Phuket Sandbox project which allows vaccinated holidaymakers with negative PCR tests entry into Thailand.
Tourism chiefs hope the project, which sees vaccinated holidaymakers ‘isolate’ on the sprawling island, will fire up the country’s struggling economy which has been blitzed by coronavirus restrictions.
The success of the project – seen as a model for other countries in Southeast Asia – is still uncertain following rising numbers of Covid-19 cases across Thailand, which currently totals 1,083,951 cases and 9,788 deaths as of August 24.
Economists have warned that it could be another five years before the country’s tourism industry returns to pre-pandemic levels.
Two years ago tourism made up an estimated 21 per cent of Thailand’s GDP, generating 1.8 trillion baht in revenue. However, the country’s National Economic and Social Development Council predicted that it could be another five years before similar numbers are seen.
Analysts said that between now and 2026, around seven million workers will continue to be affected by the economic harm from the Covid-19 pandemic.