A Turkish expatriate drowned Saturday near the Maafushi island in Kaafu atoll.
The 40-year-old construction worker died while swimming on the eastern side of the island, police told the media. He was pronounced dead on arrival at the Maafushi health centre.
The expatriate arrived in the Maldives earlier this month to work on a new resort under development in Kaafu atoll by Ithaafushi Investment. After completing the work, he went to Maafushi for a short vacation before leaving the country, according to police.
Maafushi, a local island near the capital Malé, is famous for pioneering guesthouse tourism. After decades of the ‘one resort, one island’ model, the mid-market tourism sector has been steadily growing since the first guesthouse opened on Maafushi in 2010.
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.
Five tourists, including a Filipino couple on their honeymoon, drowned in a single week last month, 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.
There were 31 drowning incidents in 2017.
The tourism ministry has since launched inspections of all tourist facilities and promised discussions with island councils to designate safe swimming areas.