A Thai exchange student from Phitsanulok drowned in the United States on Tuesday while trying to save his friend in the sea at a beach in North Carolina.
He was Sirawich “Jo” Chantaburanan, 18, from Phitsanulok Witthaykhom School and a junior at Pennsylvania’s State College Area High School, in the municipality of State College.
He had flown to Frisco Beach near Cape Hatteras in nearby North Carolina with two friends and the family of a boy on the exchange program.
Sirawich went out on the sea on his boogie board about 1.30pm to help one of his friends, who seemed in trouble. He was caught in the rip tide and disappeared. He was not wearing a buoyancy vest. His friend returned safely to shore.
The Coast Guard searched for Sirawich with boats and a helicopter Tuesday. His body was recovered on Wednesday morning
Anoma Maklin, the director of the Buddhachinaraj Rotary Club in Phitsanulok and the Rotary Youth Exchange, expressed deep sorrow over his death. Jo was a very nice boy who was always eager to help people, she said.
She said the boy's family had been informed of the death of their only child, and members of the club executive had visited his mother and offered condolences and moral support.
The club will help bring his body back home, Ms Anoma said.
Jo was one of eight Thai students who participated in the exchange program. He was flown to the US in July of last year. He was due to return home in just a few days.