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'Electric shower' kills two Swedes in Thailand

The Local/dl · 4 Apr 2011, 07:15

Published: 04 Apr 2011 07:15 GMT+02:00

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The 25-year-old man and the 23-year-old woman had decided to take a shower together on Saturday evening, the Aftonbladet newspaper reported.

Friends staying in the next room rushed in to the couple's room after hearing a scream.

"One of the friends ran in, but found both of them dead. When she tried to revive her friend, she received an electric shock," a family friend told the newspaper.

The Swedish foreign ministry has confirmed the deaths.

According to a representative with the Swedish embassy in Bangkok, one theory the police are investigating is that the hotel room shower somehow became electrified.

The four Swedish travellers, all of whom come from a small village in Jämtland County in northwestern Sweden, were at the start of what was to be a month-long trek throughout Asia.

Following the accident, however, the second couple has decided to come back to Sweden.

Story continues below…

According to Aftonbladet, the accident isn't the first time that Swedish tourists have been killed in Thailand by an electrified shower.

In 2007, a 34-year-old man from the Stockholm area died after being electrocuted in his hotel shower in a resort in Patong.

The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:19 April 4, 2011 by blursd
That reminds me of when I used to live in Brazil ... they heat their shower water with an electric coil system that goes on top of the water pipe. It kind of freaked me out at first seeing two electric wires going into my shower head ... after a while though you get used to it. Problem was if for any reason there was a power surge, or if the water flow was too low and the coils overheated the electricity would travel down through the water. Of course, usually when it arced it would trip a circuit breaker, so you wouldn't get more than a second or two of 220 volts, but that's still more than you want. I remember once it shot me across my bathroom and I woke up a couple seconds later on the floor. Really makes one appreciate tanked water heaters ...
08:31 April 4, 2011 by star10
very tragic. I didn't know those boilers could be so dangerous. RIP the victims.
08:55 April 4, 2011 by JulieLou40
Horrendous story. Poor sods. I read a story some years ago about a little boy who plugged his games console into the wall to charge when on holiday in Thailand. He too was electrocuted and died. It seems the country's electrical system leaves an awful lot to be desired.
09:05 April 4, 2011 by TheOriginalBlackMan
May have broken something that had an electical charge. Sad.
10:16 April 4, 2011 by DJECKY
The electricity energy in Thailand is sick just like its ladys.
11:19 April 4, 2011 by expatjourno
Might be helpful to know the name of the resort. Duh.
11:57 April 4, 2011 by wenddiver
Have to do like that little boy in the movie "My life as a dog".

Have to remember to stay out of the shower in Thailand, Swedish Electric trains and Thai Electric showers can get you.
12:02 April 4, 2011 by Luckystrike

13:56 April 4, 2011 by americanska
This is a shame. Sometimes the US goes overboard with safety...but when you see things like this you really don't mind.
16:20 April 4, 2011 by Tanskalainen
@blursd I know exactly what you are talking about! I went to a language school in Guatamala for awhile and they had the same kind of shower head you described. I used to stare at it when I took a shower as if looking at it would somehow prevent it electrocuting.
16:21 April 4, 2011 by irridium
Unfortunately this is far too common in Thailand. It wasn't all that long ago a 17 year old student was also electrocuted in a shower. The electric heaters are often cheaply made and usually are not even installed by a licensed electrician. My sympathies to those affected by this tragedy.
16:31 April 4, 2011 by darky
You people and Thailand !
19:06 April 4, 2011 by Sheba
why would anyone go to thailand?there are better destinations like malaysia,kenya,south africa,seychelles,mauritious,mozambique,st,barts,barbados e.t.c of course...Hawai is my fave!
20:41 April 4, 2011 by Nilspet
To Sheba

I guess Thailand has what many Swedes look for: nice climate, good and cheap food, friendly people, open attitude, ... lots of things. Malaysia which is a neighboring country of Thailand is a good country to visit but it is quite restricted because majority there are muslims (which means less nightlife, ...) and the people are not as open. I dont know about Hawaii but it is far more expensive than Thailand.

This incident was tragedy for sure but we will have wait for an investigation. R.I.P.
20:54 April 4, 2011 by Syftfel
This makes one wonder what type of laws, rules and regulations Thailand has when it comes to plumbing installations and other such infrastructure, as well as what certifications are required for plumbers in Thailand before they install such acouterments in public buildings? What does the Thai building code say? And what governmental enforcement mechanisms are in place to ensure that they are followed. Or are such edicts perhaps non-existent in third world countries?
23:57 April 4, 2011 by Tanskalainen
@Sheba Why do Swedes go to Thailand? Fourteen year old Thai girls that's why.
02:41 April 5, 2011 by Da Goat
I smell a rat as water is a insulator (it does not conduct electricity unless it is dirty)

also the water droplets break off soon after leaving the shower head!

though to have a electric shower head is pretty scary!
03:39 April 5, 2011 by volvoman9
@Da Goat Actually water is an excellent insulator and conductor. Water in the form of snow is heaped upon high voltage lines in winter yet seldom causes a problem. This is because snow is mostly distilled water. You are correct that dirty water (over 99% of it containing trace minerals) is conductive. It takes less than a milliamp to start ventricular fibrillation in a human. The shower floor, presumably tile, concrete or metal is and excellent source to ground and therefore the circuit through the heart is complete. Once fibrillation occurs the brain begins to die in 2 to 4 minutes. The rest is elementary.
09:49 April 5, 2011 by wenddiver
@Sheba you could go for the best Muy Thai Fight Clubs in the World.
10:49 April 5, 2011 by Alex 2
If they would take shower one by one it wouldn't happend. Don't f..k under the shower.
05:18 April 6, 2011 by Raiha
It's common to get nasty little shocks all over Asia and South America.

Two standard things I do in the shower: Once in it, don't touch it - shower head, walls etc. And wear rubber thongs (which should be normal travelling practise anyway).
19:02 April 6, 2011 by izbz
@ Nilspet

Malaysia not so much night life??????? Are talking about bars , pubs, nightclubs and disco???? Or are you talking about cheap hookers like in Thailand? Malaysia have more nightlife than you have in Sweden. They order their beers not in jug, pints but in towers. Your money run dry before the beers run dry. If you want to prefer cheap hookers, take a bus to Thailand.

Coming to the subject of electrocution.....why am I not surprise since I come from Asia. Only thing I am surprise is it was nearly never mention until Swedish got electocuted. Seen a lot of those green yellow and blue wires hanging out in most Asian countries I've been to. So good luck when you travel, anything can happen Tsunami, volcano ,earthquakes, electrocution . So I suggest those who are scare to stay at home. Even at home watch out for the soap on the bathroom floor, might just slip and break your neck
10:47 April 8, 2011 by Strongbow
There was a thread on boing-boing about these suicide showers about a year ago and the anecdotes and near death experiences in the comments made me laugh so hard, and feel afraid, and laugh. http://boingboing.net/2009/12/21/suicide-shower-guate.html
14:06 April 8, 2011 by tadchem
They were most likely electrocuted because some appliance somewhere else was 'grounded' (UK English: 'earthed') to the metal drainpipes. They would enter the circuit as soon as there was a puddle of water in the shower stall.

Not that uncommon in places that lack building codes...
22:07 April 9, 2011 by Wireless.Phil
In Thailand, the death of a foreigner is always blamed on an accident!
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