British tourist drowns off El Nido after getting caught in rip tide

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Kevin Bui
Kevin Bui at work at the Wacky Barbers in London’s Soho

A renowned London barber drowned after getting caught up in strong currents off the coast of El Nido.

Kevin Bui, aged 27, was swimming off the shore of the Palawan town’s Barangay Bucan when tragedy struck yesterday (Tuesday, March 13).

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El Nido Municipal Police Station Chief Inspector Lodell Lota estimated that Mr Bui, also known as Kevin Hey, drowned at about 2pm while swimming with a friend, identified as 22-year old Alina Fritz, a German woman.

Fritz told police that after swimming to a distance of about 40 metres from the shoreline, she and Bui experienced sudden strong waves and rip tides.

She said she yelled at the victim to get his attention and to tell him they needed to go back. But Bui failed to swim back after struggling against the strong currents for an estimated 20 minutes.

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A group of lifeguards who went to his assistance discovered him floating and unconscious. Fritz said they brought him to the shore to revive him, but there was no response.

He was taken to the El Nido rural health unit (RHU), where he was declared dead at 4pm.

Even the most experienced of swimmers and divers can fall foul of treacherous Philippine waters. Last month we reported how a Canadian diving instructor became separated from his boat due to strong undersea currents.

Matthew Lafrance and Swayam Rawal from the US were diving off Apo Island when they lost contact with their boat.

The pair were still lost as night began to fall, and they began to fear the worst. Fortunately they were rescued and none the worse for their ordeal. Contrary to some media reports, they did not blame the charter boat operator for “abandoning” them, and emphasised the situation was purely down to sea conditions.

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