'He was nervous and panicked': Thai police chief claims Australian tourist, 70, 'unbuckled his harness' before plunging to his death - as his wife denies he did it on purpose

  • Roger John Hussey, 70, died on Kata Beach in Phuket, Thailand on Wednesday
  • Horrifying footage shows moment he plunged to his death while parasailing
  • He smiled for camera as his wife filmed him preparing for water sports activity 
  • Boat operator and the staff member on the parasail were arrested and charged
  • They claim Mr Hussey panicked and unbuckled his harness
  • His wife and children dismissed the claims and paid tribute to their father
  • Footage from April shows parasailers on same beach using poor safety 

An Australian man who plunged 40 metres (100ft) to his death on Thai beach caused his own death by unbuckling his parasail harness, equipment operators told police.

Roger John Hussey, 70, died when he fell into shallow water moments after taking off as his wife and dozens of others watched from the beach.

Roongroj Rakcheep, who took Mr Hussey into the air on his tragic voyage, has been charged with recklessly causing death - but said it was not his fault and claimed Mr Hussey was 'nervous and panicked' and 'accidentally unbuckled the equipment'.

Mr Hussey's Thai wife Boosabong Tongsanga dismissed the claim as his family paid tribute to a loving husband and father who died on Kata Beach in Phuket on Wednesday.  

Roger John Hussey (pictured) has been killed in a horror parasailing incident on popular Kata Beach, in Phuket, on Wednesday
Within moments of being lifted up into the air, he plunged more than 100ft to his death in the shallows below

Roger John Hussey (left) was killed in a horror parasailing incident on popular Kata Beach, in Phuket, on Wednesday. Within moments of being lifted up into the air, he plunged more than 400m (100ft) to his death in the shallows below (right)

'He told us that Mr Hussey was nervous and panicked, so he accidentally unbuckled the equipment,' Karon police Lieutenant Suwisit Srirak told local media. 

'He added that he tried to tell Mr Hussey to stay calm, but it was too late.'

Deputy Chief Inspector of Karon Police Station, Lieutenant Colonel Suwisit Keereerak, said Mr Roongroj  told him Mr Hussey was holding both the clips correctly when he went up.

The septuagenarian then took away both hands and put them in the air - appearing to wave to those below.

But when he put his hands back on the equipment he may have have squeezed the clips, which released him.

'We are still investigating and will check the real cause again before proceeding,' Lieutenant Colonel Keereerak said.  

Mr Hussey's wife said she said she and her husband had watched people parasail for three days to make sure he could handle it. She denied the incident might have been suicide.   

'My husband wanted to try it because it was a new experience for him. He was in good health and had no problems in his life that would have caused him to do this on purpose,' she said. 

Police said Mr Hussey (R) was holding both the clips correctly when he went up and then took away both hands and put them in the air - appearing to wave to those below

Police said Mr Hussey (R) was holding both the clips correctly when he went up and then took away both hands and put them in the air - appearing to wave to those below

In a series of Facebook posts, his children paid tribute to their father. 

'You are engraved on my memory forever, R.I.P. Daddy,' his daughter Sonsuda Klongsombut wrote.

Underneath was a photo of Mr Hussey, 70, hugging Sonsuda and her sister as they sat down to eat a meal in Thailand.

His son Artee Dechatorn posted his own tribute online accompanied by photos of their whole family, promising to protect them.

'Ask My Daddy to sleep. Do not worry or worry. I promise to be strong It will protect and see the mother. Love sister best Daddy. Love u every day,' he wrote.    

'You are engraved on my memory forever, R.I.P. Daddy,' his daughter Sonsuda Klongsombut wrote on Facebook

'You are engraved on my memory forever, R.I.P. Daddy,' his daughter Sonsuda Klongsombut wrote on Facebook

 Underneath was a photo of Mr Hussey, 70, hugging Sonsuda and another woman as they sat down to eat a meal in Thailand

 Underneath was a photo of Mr Hussey, 70, hugging Sonsuda and another woman as they sat down to eat a meal in Thailand

His son Artee Dechatorn posted his own tribute online accompanied by photos of their whole family, promising to protect them

His son Artee Dechatorn posted his own tribute online accompanied by photos of their whole family, promising to protect them

The entire horrifying incident was captured on video by Mr Hussey's wife, who was standing on the shore of the packed beach watching her husband, along with dozens of beachgoers 

The entire horrifying incident was captured on video by Mr Hussey's wife, who was standing on the shore of the packed beach watching her husband, along with dozens of beachgoers 

The horrific footage shows him come free from his harness before he falls to the water below
The tragedy happened in front of beachgoers

The horrific footage shows Mr Hussey coming free from his harness before falling to the water below. As beachgoers watched on in shock, instructors from the parasailing company run into the water

Mr Roongroj, 38, and boat driver Monthein Jandang, 45, insisted all the equipment was fully functional and in good condition.

The pair said it was replaced every three months to ensure safety, and maintenance officers who examined it after the accident found nothing broken.

However, the company confessed to operating the boat without the presence of a technician on board, which is illegal. 

The two staff who were charged were named as the parasilor Rungroj Rakscheep, 38, and Montien Chandeng, 45, the boat captain

The two staff who were charged were named as the parasilor Rungroj Rakscheep, 38, and Montien Chandeng, 45, the boat captain

Police examined the equipment used in the accident as they investigated the incident

Police examined the equipment used in the accident as they investigated the incident

Meanwhile, shocking new footage has emerged of parasail operators stand barefooted on tatty ropes at more than 80 metres in the air at the same beach.

Taken in April at the same location and at about the same height, it showed how staff without any safety equipment dressed in shorts and t-shirts fly up on the rigging. 

They then haul themselves up to crouch and stand on the webbing, just inches from metal safety clips attached to a tourist’s harness as they prepare to steer the parasail during landing.

Footage of Mr Hussey's death shows Mr Roongroj performing an identical stunt, flipping up onto the ropes moments before his passenger comes loose and falls.

Mr Hussey was seen chatting to his instructors about the activity, with one telling him to 'start running' when the boat on the water takes off. 

But only 15 seconds after taking off, the Perth-based businessman can be seen losing his grip on the parasail with the instructor trying unsuccessfully to grab hold of him.

His wife's video ends shortly after Mr Hussey hits the water, with beachgoers looking on in shock while instructors from the parasailing company run into the water.

Although the parasailing company attempted to blame the Australian for the accident, expert were baffled by the safety equipment they used.

Shocking new footage has emerged of parasail operators stand barefooted on tatty ropes at more than 80 metres in the air at the same beach

Shocking new footage has emerged of parasail operators stand barefooted on tatty ropes at more than 80 metres in the air at the same beach

Taken in April at the same location and at about the same height, it showed how staff without any safety equipment dressed in shorts and t-shirts fly up on the rigging

Taken in April at the same location and at about the same height, it showed how staff without any safety equipment dressed in shorts and t-shirts fly up on the rigging

Footage of Mr Hussey's death shows Mr Roongroj performing an identical stunt, flipping up onto the ropes moments before his passenger comes loose and falls

Footage of Mr Hussey's death shows Mr Roongroj performing an identical stunt, flipping up onto the ropes moments before his passenger comes loose and falls

The video showed parasail staff setting up the equipment and flying it

The video showed parasail staff setting up the equipment and flying it

The ropes used in the April clip were seen to be tatty and in poor repair

The ropes used in the April clip were seen to be tatty and in poor repair

Damien Ward, a veteran of close to a decade parasailing in South Australia and Darwin, said he was unsure why there were loose straps hanging down at the front of the safety harness.

'I just don't understand why there's this extra strap,' he told Daily Mail Australia, adding that the harness was banned in Australia.  

'It's a completely different set up, we run a bum-strap – or a soft swing – which in Australia is mandatory.

'The actual bit that they're tightening around chest is to hold the weight of the line, if you're arms are up you'll fall straight out.

'Looking at his harness, whereas with those in Australia, if it should happen to slip down you'll end up hanging upside down.' 

The experienced businessman and his Thailand-born wife Ms Budsabong were reportedly just 12 days into their dream holiday.

Mr Hussey was the founder and CEO of Century Holdings Ltd, a company that he claims was worth upwards of $250 million

Mr Hussey was the founder and CEO of Century Holdings Ltd, a company that he claims was worth upwards of $250 million

Emergency services rushed Mr Hussey to the nearby Patong Hospital but he was pronounced dead a short time later.

According to Mr Ward, parasailing companies across Asia are often 'run by cowboys' and incidents such as Mr Hussey's death are unfortunately commonplace.

'I would never go parasailing there and I would never advise anyone to,' Mr Ward told Daily Mail Australia.

'For everyone in Australia, the industry has become redundant... because we get charged huge insurance because all these cowboys in Bali give it a bad name.' 

He has served as chairman of the TAB, on the board of fuel giant Shell and also on a number of not-for profit boards such as Princess Margaret Hospital

He has served as chairman of the TAB, on the board of fuel giant Shell and also on a number of not-for profit boards such as Princess Margaret Hospital

Mr Hussey has had a decorated career in the business industry, as the 'CEO, director and chair of a range of Public, Government and NFP companies'

Mr Hussey has had a decorated career in the business industry, as the 'CEO, director and chair of a range of Public, Government and NFP companies'

Images from Mr Hussey's social media accounts show he was a regular visitor to Asia

Images from Mr Hussey's social media accounts show he was a regular visitor to Asia

Mr Hussey had a decorated career in the business industry, as the 'CEO, director and chair of a range of Public, Government and NFP companies'. 

According to his social media accounts, Mr Hussey was educated at the prestigious Oxford University where he completed a Masters' degree in Economics and Politics.

He later also studied at the renowned Stanford University in California, United States. 

After three years working in marketing for Shell, Mr Hussey entered the inner circle of Australia's first billionaire businessman Robert Holmes a Court in 1975, according to Perth Now.

Mr Hussey studied with Mr Holmes a Court at university and was later hired into a finance and investment role at his former classmates' Bell Group Ltd.

He left Bell in 1979 to start investment company Century Holdings Ltd, which he claims was worth upwards of $250 million. He is still listed as the founder and CEO. 

In 1993 he was appointed as chairman of Australia's biggest betting and gambling association, the TAB.  

Despite his growing success, former colleagues said Mr Hussey was quiet and wanted to build his career out of the public eye, according to Perth Now. 

Mr Hussey's last corporate role was with Parbury Henty, after which he retreated to Perth, claiming he wanted to spend more time at home. 

The 70-year-old maintained a low profile over the past 20 years and has served on the boards of including Princess Margaret Hospital, the Telethon Institute, The Perron Institute and Landgate.  

WA government group Landgate paid tribute to the businessman who has been a board member since 2012.

'Landgate has been made aware of the sudden death of its Deputy Chair, Roger Hussey, following a tragic accident in Thailand,' the company said in a statement.

'He served the West Australian community in many ways – as a businessman, board member and advocate for a variety of community causes.

'Those who have worked closely with Roger are deeply saddened by this news... we will miss his deep thinking, willingness to challenge conventional views, and passion for growing our business.' 

Police said Mr Hussey had 'red marks on his body' from when he is believed to have hit the water.

Mr Hussey's body was sent for a post-mortem examination to establish how he died as it is not known if he drowned or was killed from the impact.  

The shocking incident comes just months after another Australian tourist died on the same beach, while also taking part in water activities.

Emily Jayne Collie was pulled unconscious from the water after crashing her jet-ski into one her boyfriend was riding in early February, again on Kata Beach. 

The 20-year-old was treated on the beach by lifeguards, before she was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital. She died from severe injuries to her neck and shoulders.

Her boyfriend Tommy Keating, who was left in tears after the incident, said sunlight reflecting off the water had led to the crash. 

The couple had been in a relationship for about two years and had gone to Thailand on a 'dream holiday', much like Mr Hussey and Ms Thongsangka.

The shocking incident comes just months after another Australian tourist Emily Jayne Collie died on the same beach (pictured), while taking part in water activities with her boyfriend

The shocking incident comes just months after another Australian tourist Emily Jayne Collie died on the same beach (pictured), while taking part in water activities with her boyfriend

The 20-year-old was pulled unconscious from the water after crashing her jet-ski into one her boyfriend was riding in early February
Her boyfriend Tommy Keating, who was left in tears after the incident, said sunlight reflecting off the water had led to the crash

The 20-year-old (pictured left, and right with her boyfriend Tommy Keating) was pulled unconscious from the water after crashing her jet-ski into one her boyfriend was riding in early February

 

 

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