Image by Daniel Bernard

Island collapse into Phi Phi national park reef

Phuket National park officers will seal off the area at one end of Koh Mae Urai, located between Phi Phi Island and the Krabi mainland, for safety after a large chunk of the island splintered off and collapsed into the sea, onto a coral reef.

Chief of the Hat Noppharat Thara–Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park, Prayoon Phongphan, told The Phuket News that officers first noticed the end of the island, two kilometers southwest of Koh Poda, had “fallen off” during a routine patrol of the park last Friday morning (Oct 16, 2020).

“The section broke into two large pieces, both clearly visible above the water. We estimate that the collapsed rock weighs anywhere from 30,000 up to 50,000 tonnes. Luckily no one was injured from the collapse,” he said.

“Our officers conducted a dive at the site yesterday [Oct 20, 2020] to try to determine how much damage was done to the reef. However, the conditions were too murky for them to see, so they will conduct another dive later” Mr. Prayoon added.

Mr. Prayoon estimated that about 20% of the corals at the reef suffered damage from the collapse.

“At this stage, we do not know how much of the reef was damaged, but the reef is home to important corals, including staghorn corals, and was a popular dive site for tourists,” he said.

“Please be careful. Boat operators must not approach the site. It can be dangerous,” he warned.

“Park officers will mark off the area with buoys with a sign clearly explaining no entry to the sealed-off area,” he concluded.