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Chinese tourist found dead in resort lagoon

Also on Sunday, a 64-year-old Japanese tourist died during a diving trip.



A 70-year-old Chinese tourist was found dead on Sunday in the lagoon of Madivaru Finolhu in Alif Alif atoll.

He was spending the holidays in a guesthouse on the nearby Thoddoo island. Police did not confirm that his death was caused by drowning.

Later on Sunday, a 64-year-old Japanese tourist died during a diving trip in Vaavu atoll.

The man was spending his vacation on a safari, police said. The death was reported around 11:40pm Sunday night.

He died en route to the Vaavu atoll hospital after facing complications while diving. His body has now been transferred to capital Malé.

There have been a spate of tourist deaths by drowning this year. Several fatal accidents have also occurred during diving trips.

There were 31 drowning incidents in 2017.

Five tourists, including a Filipino couple on their honeymoon, drowned in a single week in January, prompting the authorities to appeal for safety precautions during swimming, snorkelling or water sports as currents are strong during the north-eastern monsoon. Police advised extra caution when children or adults who cannot swim go into the water.

The tourism ministry has since launched inspections of all tourist facilities and promised discussions with island councils to designate safe swimming areas.

“Regular monitoring must be done to ensure that regulations are followed. Some of these regulations are very outdated. They need to be modernised,” Tourism Minister Ali Waheed told the press in February.

Unlike resort islands, tourists who stay at guesthouses on local islands are often unaccompanied when they go swimming or snorkelling. Warning signs about currents and water depth are also rare.

Currents are unusually strong this year, the presidents of the Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operations and the Guesthouse Association of Maldives told TTG Asia last week.

According to a manager of a high-end resort, an independent two-day health and safety audit is conducted annually on most new resorts as part of agreements with tour operators such as Kuoni and Thomas Cook.