A Thai man drowned to in the small hours of this morning while collecting coins from floating water lanterns in the wake of last night’s Loy Krathong festival.
Approx 2.30 am today, police received a report regarding a man who had drowned in the Thahan Rua canal of Samut Sakhon, a province neighbouring Bangkok.
It took a team of scuba divers about five minutes to retrieve the body, later identified as 20-year-old Natthapol Yothongyos, according to directions given by four kids that witnessed the drowning and screamed for help, reported Workpoint.
Police say Natthapol’s body showed no signs of injury upon discovery and forensic evidence suggested that he had been dead for no more than 30 minutes.
On his body, officials found a plastic bag filled with change and his national identification card.
Police suspect that Natthapol got a cramp in his leg while he was swimming and collecting coins that people left on their krathongs.
Loy Krathong is an ancient Thai tradition intended to pay respects to the Goddess of Water. Water lanterns or “krathongs” are floated in open waters to symbolize one’s willingness to let go of hatred and anger as well as to say ‘thank you’ to the goddess.
Like blowing out the candles on a birthday cake, it is common practice for one to make a wish before floating their lantern. Many revelers put change in their krathong under the belief that it can provide an “extra push” to help their wish come true.
Natthapol’s body has been transported to Institute of Forensic Medicine to conclude the cause of death.
Prior to this dragic incident the Thai Ministry launched a campaign against drownings during Loy Krathong.
The number of deaths by drowning a day before, during and the day after Loy Krathong over the past decade (2008-2017) stood at 380 – 25 per cent or 94 cases of which were children under age 15, Dr Sukhum Kanchanapimai, permanent secretary of the Public Health Ministry, said on Tuesday.
On Loy Krathong Day, the cumulative deaths by drowning over the past decade stood at 145, with 43 being children under 15. Hence, the ministry has instructed its agencies to raise public awareness about the risk of drowning during the festival.