Tourists swam for their lives when a dam opened its floodgate without warning. The tourists were still on the rafts in front of the dam and had to escape in a matter of seconds before the water would’ve washed them away. The incident took place on 6 July 2020 at Sirindhorn Dam in Ubon Ratchathani Province. A dam officer decided to open the floodgate without realizing that it was a holiday and many local tourists were hanging out on the rafts in the water. The water inside the dam flowed into the rafts and one of the ropes tying a raft broke. The raft crashed into several others, items on the rafts all went into the water. Tourists heard yelling from a tour guide who was nearby about the floodgate, they rushed off the rafts realizing that it was likely a dangerous end if they hesitated.
Wuttichai Kumchul 33 years old, a raft owner, and a local tour guide stated that the water heavily damaged many of the rafts. At about 15.00 he was taking some tourists on a raft tour and decided to take a break in front of the Sirindhorn Dam. Many of the tourists went into the water for a swim. Suddenly the dam floodgate opened and the water flow was very strong. Dam stated “I yelled to the tourists in the water and to those still on the raft to get out of the water. I rushed onto land for safety and told the tourists to do the same. The water was so strong one of the rafts got loose and crashed into other rafts nearby. There is about 10,000 THB of damages from the incident. The tourists that were in the dam are now terrified for their lives”.
The tourists involved in the incident are likely to never return to the Sirindhorn Dam or to any other activities on the water as a result. Any of them could have been seriously injured or the worst case could have died from the incident if the tour guide didn’t see that the floodgate was opened. The dam usually opens the floodgate in the mornings to generate electricity. Dam owners nearby are warned through a line group to beware of the water flow but on the date of the incident no message was sent out and the floodgate was opened at 15.00.
FB Caption: The tourists in the incident will probably never join in water activities ever again.