KOH LIPE – Incredible footage shows the moment a rare, quadruple waterspout stunned tourists on a remote Thai holiday island.
Locals and holiday-makers began gathering on the beach in Koh Lipe, southern Thailand, as dark grey storm clouds approached on Sunday morning, The Sun reported.
Four large cyclones could then be seen twisting down from the sky and swirling into the ocean, with the rare weather phenomenon stunning holiday-makers in the area.
One spectator can be heard in the footage saying, “Oh my God, what is it?”
Another adds: “That’s a cyclone, it’s sucking up the water.”
The video was captured by Kim Puyu who works on the island.
“I’ve never seen anything like this before. I’ve not even seen one waterspout, so it was amazing to see four of them together,” she said.
“The weather here is very dramatic, because it’s an island in the ocean.
“Before the clouds came there was strong sun and it was hot, then out of nowhere the dark clouds appeared. Nature is so powerful, it’s amazing.”
Thai Weather Forecast Bureau spokesman Surapong Sarapa said waterspouts were common in the Andaman Sea coast during the rainy season but it was rare to have four of them at the same time.
Waterspouts, or funnel clouds, are intense columns of swirling tornado clouds that appear over a body of water.
They are most commonly found in tropical areas and disappear after a couple of minutes or when they come into contact with land.
Last month, the Thai government said Maya Bay — the beach made famous in Leonardo DiCaprio’s 2000 film The Beach — was closing indefinitely.
The beach on Phi Phi Leh island was shut for four months on June 1 to salvage the area’s coral reefs, which have taken a battering from warmer water temperatures as well as visitors dropping rubbish.
But authorities in Thailand said its ecosystem needed even more time to recover after it was damaged by huge amounts of tourists visiting.