A Thai man drowned in the early hours of the morning today while stealing coins that worshippers had floated on a canal for good luck.
Nattapol Yothongyos, 20, swam through hundreds of candle-lit baskets which had been placed on the water in Samut Sakhon province for the country’s colourful Loy Krathong festival.
He loaded his pockets with small change that revellers had added to the boats but at around 1am local time he suffered cramps in his leg and drowned in the 17ft deep canal.
Children gathered on the bank of the canal called for help after witnessing the man slip below the surface but they were initially dismissed after a security guard thought they were kidding – and threatened them with arrest.
The lads eventually convinced passer-by they were telling the truth and police arrived on the scene shortly after 1:30am. Nattapol’s body was later recovered by police divers – with the stolen coins in his pocket.
Prapat Chaosamut, Deputy Director of Samut Sakhon Province, said: ”The duty security officer was told by four children who were sitting on the bank of the canal that a man had drowned. He didn’t believe them and thought they were joking.
”The children were told they would be arrested if they were lying but they insisted it was true, so he reported the drowning to the police.
”Officers co-ordinated with divers and the children to recover the body. When they pulled it to the shore, in the man’s pockets they found a large amount of change which had been taken from the Krathong baskets.”
Police said that Nattapol had been dead for around 30 minutes before his body was recovered. The corpse has now been sent for an forensic examination to check if he had alcohol in his body at the time.
Prapat added: ”It is expected that the victim drowned after developing cramps in his leg. There will be an examination of the body to find the true cause of death.”