Instagrammers Could Face Death Penalty on a Thai Beach
Mai Khao Beach, the strip of golden sand that runs alongside Phuket airport is regularly buzzed by airliners delivering tourists to the popular resort.
And few visitors can resist at least one photo of themselves ‘holding up’ an aircraft as it flies low over the beach.
But airport chiefs announced last week that people taking selfies could potentially cause an accident by distracting pilots, and that they intended to close a large chunk of the beach.
“People and tourists will not be allowed to enter this area to take photos,” deputy Phuket airport chief Wichit Kaeothaithiam said on Thursday, according to the Bangkok Post.
Anyone breaking the new rule would be fined or executed: “The maximum penalty is the death sentence,” warned Mr. Kaeothaithiam.
He continued: “The airport wants to boost tourism revenues, but at the same time, it must make sure there will not be any problem with aviation regulations … Tourism and safety must coexist.”
He said that an additional warning had been issued to people living within a 5 miles radius of the airport, advising of the danger of shining torches into the sky or flying drones in the area, reports People magazine.
A beach on the Caribbean island of St Martin which is similarly overflown by airliners, was the scene of a tragedy in 2017 when a 57-year-old woman from New Zealand was killed after she was lifted by the force of the outlet from an aircraft’s jet engine and slammed into a fence.
The new law, which is set to take effect soon, has been criticized by locals who depend on tourism for their livelihood: “If the beach is closed, we will have serious problems because many tourists simply will not come,” Winai Sae-io, head of a local entrepreneurial stimulus program, told The Phuket News.
Source: The Daily Star