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Governor Dr Preecha Ruangjan greets the bodies at Phuket deep sea port

Boat Sinking Update: Five Bodies Recovered

Thursday, March 12, 2009
Phuketwan Latest, plus Photo Album

MARINE police carried five victims of the dive boat sinking to Phuket's Deep Sea Port this afternoon, where the bodies were transferred to ambulances bound for Vachira Hospital in Phuket City and formal identification.

One of the seven people who went missing in a storm that sank MV Dive Asia 1 on Sunday, with 30 on board, remains unaccounted for.

Phuket Governor Dr Preecha Ruangjan, Phuket Police Commander Apirak Hongthong and Third Naval Command Vice Admiral Narong Testvisan were on the dock this afternoon to meet the marine police boat and the victims.

in one of his last and saddest duties as Governor, Dr Preecha greeted each body with a prayer and a touch as they were carried one by one from the boat.

The five bodies were brought to the surface before 12.25pm today by a team of six technical divers on board a second Dive Asia boat that joined the marine police boat at a spot not far off Phuket.

The boats anchored a few dozen metres from the spot where MV Dive Asia 1 was found at a depth of 71 metres on the ocean bed, between Kamala and Patong.

The spot is close enough to land for the two resort townships to be visible, along with the island's Big Buddha statue.

The recovery team divers were quick to achieve their aim today.

Divers dropped into the water soon after 11am from the dive company's surviving boat, Dive Asia. Five bodies were found. It had been hoped there might be six.

A total of 12 Kusoldharm Foundation staff were on the marine police boat to assist with the transfer, some jumping into the water to help.

The foundation has the task of rescue and recovery on Phuket and is widely experienced, especially from traffic mishaps.

A forensic photographer took shots of identifying features, including watches, jewellery and clothing, as each victim was placed in a heavy black bag on the boat.

A Phuketwan reporter on board said all of the recovery crew were "very respectful in carrying out an extremely efficient operation."

The first victim to be recovered, Gabrielle Jetzinger, 52, who was found on Tuesday, was cremated this afternoon in a short private ceremony at Prathong Temple in Thalang.

Her husband, a dentist as was his wife, attended with family members and officials from the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Mrs Jetzinger, one of three Austrians who died in the storm, is understood to have been a keen student of Buddhism. Prathong Temple was her favorite.

Yesterday technical divers went down to the sunken vessel for the first time and found four bodies. Today they went down again to recover all five.

The dive boat, carrying 30 people, was returning to Phuket from a liveaboard dive trip to the popular Similan Islands when it capsized and sank in a storm about 11pm on Sunday.

Twenty-three people managed to clamber into two life rafts and were rescued the following day.

Four bodies, believed to be two Austrians and two Swiss tourists, were located by a team of divers yesterday, but because of the time restraints in making such a deep and dangerous dive, a recovery was not possible.

The fifth body recovered today is believed to be that of a Japanese tourist. Still missing is the dive company's Thai cook, says Jurgen Schenker, of Dive Asia.

Those brought to land today are believed to be Yuba Hirotsuga, from Japan, Klaus Konradoer and Monika Schuster, from Austria, and Sibylle Bucher and Rolf Niederberge, from Switzerland.

Divers accounted for four victims yesterday by going into the sleeping quarters allotted to the tourists

Mr Hirotsuga was first thought to be in a port-side cabin but he was actually staying in a starboard cabin, Mr Schenker said.

Mr Schenker said the boat's cook, Jumpa Sorntat, was speaking with the captain, Chatree Leechoi, who survived the sinking, just minutes before the boat went down.

Khun Jumpa was last seen asking the captain about the weather. He left the cockpit after the captain told him he was busy trying to navigate the boat through the storm.

Marine Police Lt Col Wanlop Phuangphaga, who supervised today's recovery, said the search for the missing man would continue.

The six divers involved in today's descent are what is known as ''technical'' divers. They included one with a medical background who had experience in body recovery, Mr Schenker said.

The marine police boat headed out today from Rassada port.

Hundreds of tourists there were boarding ferries to Phi Phi, Ao Nang and Koh Lanta, unaware of the sad event taking place in the same waters.

Sinking of the MV Dive Asia 1

March 4
Dive boat MV Dive Asia 1 with 19 tourists and 11 crew aboard leaves Chalong pier for a five-night liveaboard trip to the Similan Islands.

March 8
4.30pm A boat carrying three men capsizes in a storm off Phuket's south shore. Two men, Jidtapon Taveeworaparsert and Sittichai Tanadpirom, swim to safety on Koh Bon and alert the authorities that Atakorn Jaiboon is missing.
10pm The MV Dive Asia 1 departs from the Similans in calm seas to return to Phuket.
11pm A savage squall strikes and passengers on board are thrown into the water without warning. The boat capsizes and sinks within minutes. Twenty-three people scramble into inflatable life rafts and drift with the dinghies tied together through the night.

March 9
8am Dive Asia staff arrive to Chalong pier to meet the boat that was due back to shore between 2am and 4am and are unable to find it. They alert Royal Thai Navy that the boat is missing.
noon Survivors are plucked from the water by a fishing boat, all in good condition.
2pm A Marine Police boat intercepts the fishing boat and survivors are taken aboard. Calls between rescue personnel and Dive Asia confirm that seven people, six tourists and a Thai staffer, are missing.
4.05pm The Marine Police boat arrives back to Phuket's Deep Sea Port and the 23 survivors are debriefed and taken for treatment of sunburns and minor injuries.
4.35pm A Navy helicopter spots a body floating on the surface of the water. Officers in the helicopter give the coordinates to Marine Police, but only a life jacket is found.
6.30 pm The sunken boat is located by sonar by Navy boat "Pahruhat" off Phuket, at a depth of 71 metres.

March 10
6am Search vessels resume the hunt for more possible survivors.
7am A body is seen on the water from the Navy helicopter and recovered by Marine Police about four kilometres away from the previous sighting.
1pm The recovery boat arrives back to the Deep Sea Port of Phuket and the body is transferred to Vachira Hospital, where it is identified as Austrian tourist Gabrielle Jetzinger.
The body of Atakorn Jaiboon, who was aboard the small boat off Rawai with two others, is found by rescue officials.

March 11
Noon Four specially-trained technical divers descend to the sunken boat in search of the missing.
4.10 pm Divers report that four bodies are found inside the wreck of the MV Dive Asia 1 on the floor of the ocean off Phuket. Positional records lead police to conclude that the bodies are those of two Austrians and two Swiss.
Rescue officials call off the surface-level search for survivors by boat and helicopter.
A Thai staffer remain missing.

March 12
11.05am Technical divers begin their descent to the sunken boat to recover four bodies and to search for the two still missing.
12.25pm Five bodies are recovered and taken back to Phuket for identification.

Phuketwan Dive Boat File

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Comments have been disabled for this article.


A very sad moment. :(

Posted by Sean on March 12, 2009 10:42

Wednesday October 5, 2022
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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