A 36 year-old Chinese tourist was found dead off the coast of Sun Island Resort and Spa yesterday afternoon, police have reported.
Police did not identify the tourist but stated that he was last seen snorkeling with other tourists staying on the island.
”His body was discovered by another tourist on the island,” police said in a statement. ”He was declared dead by the resort’s health centre.”
Tourists snorkeling with the man reported his disappearence to the reception. Resort staff searched for the man before his body was discovered by another tourist.,
Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam said the body had been brought to Male’, and police were now investigating the incident.
The resort had not responded to enquiries at time of press.
Chinese visitors last year numerically constituted one of the largest tourism markets for the Maldives, with off-season arrivals from China compensating for the impact of the economic crisis in traditional European markets.
However last year Chinese tourists also made up a disproportionate number of tourist fatalities, usually while snorkeling.
In September 2010 a 48-year old Chinese woman who had been snorkeling at Paradise Island Resort and Spa was pronounced dead after she was pulled from the water and rushed to ADK hospital.
In mid-August 2010 a Chinese couple holidaying in the Maldives disappeared from their resort after they went for a swim.
The 38 year-old woman and 40 year-old man were holidaying with their 13 year-old daughter on the Hilton Irufushi Beach and Spa Resort in Noonu Atoll.
On March 14, police received a report that a Chinese national, Rui Dai, died while snorkelling at Holiday Inn Kandooma Resort, South Malé Atoll.
Earlier that same month another Chinese man died while snorkeling at Chaaya Lagoon Hakurahura Island Resort, less than a day after a German tourist died in a snorkeling accident at Embudu Village Island Resort.
A top UK transplant surgeon, Ali Bakran, also died in the water while snorkeling at the Adaaran Meedhupparu Resort in Raa Atoll last year.
Mohamed Ibrahim ‘Sim’ from the Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) last year stated that Chinese guests in particular needed to be made more aware of the dangers of snorkeling in the Maldives, “because it is a totally different environment than what they are used to.”
While UK tour operators passed on advice and information to tourists, China was a relatively new market “and the operators need to be made aware also,” Sim added.
“Few resorts have reception staff or guides who speak Mandarin.”