Tourism News

Tourism News Phuketwan Tourism News
facebook recommendations


Sign up now for our News Alert emails and the latest breaking news plus new features.

Click to subscribe

Existing subscribers can unsubscribe here


The first body, of an Austrian victim, is brought back to Phuket

One Body Found: Search For Survivors Continues

Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Phuketwan Updating Report

TECHNICAL divers found four bodies inside the wreck of the MV Dive Asia 1 today. Attempts will be made tomorrow to bring them to the surface.

MARINE police found the sunken vessel about 8pm on Tuesday night on the seabed, broken in two. One piece is about 16 metres long, the other piece is 12 metres. They say it is at 71 metres.

Jurgen Schenker of Dive Asia says a team of specially-trained commercial divers will make a dive today in search of the missing.

Four divers will search the boat and surrounding area, on a dive that will take about three hours. It is expected to be complete about 3pm.

Phuketwan Earlier Report

THE BODY of a woman recovered from the water at 7am has been identified.

Dive Asia staff said the woman found was Gabrielle Jetzinger, one of three Austrians who went missing after the dive boat they were aboard sunk in a storm off the coast of Phuket.

The Austrian Consul, Barbara Naude, is on her way to Vachira Hospital, where the body was checked.

Meanwhile, a Dive Asia team is on site preparing to dive to the sunken boat in search of survivors.

Six are still missing at sea: Yuba Hirotsuga, Japan; Klaus Konradoer, Austria; Monika Schuster, Austria; Sibylle Bucher, Switzerland, Rolf Niederberge, Switzerland; Jumpa Sorntat, Thailand.

Some 20 officials including the Phuket Governor and representatives of the Marine Police, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Phuket Provincial Health Office and the Department of Disaster Prevention & Mitigation held an emergency meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall this morning.

Governor Preecha Ruangjan says he will lead the search and investigation into the dive boat sinking, and will join the rescue team today in searching the area by helicopter.

He has set up two emergency telephone lines: 076 218444; 081 9794987 (International +66-76 218444; +66-81 9794987).

The Governor said hospital staff are standing by at Phuket police station in Phuket City, where helicopters will take any survivors found at sea for emergency treatment and transport to hospital.

A Navy helicopter first spotted a body in the water yesterday at 4.35pm, Rear-Admiral Amornchot Sujirat, Third Naval Area Command Phuket, said in this morning's meeting at provincial hall.

Officers in the helicopter gave the coordinates to the Marine Police, but when the police boat arrived to the area only a life jacket was found, he said.

Early this morning, the body was spotted again from the Navy helicopter and recovered by Marine Police about 4 kilometres away from the original sighting.

Ambassadors from Austria and Japan were both due to arrive to Phuket this morning, says a Dive Asia spokeswoman.

In a related case, one man is still missing after a longtail fishing boat sunk in a storm on 4.30pm March 8, says a Phuket Marine Police official.

Fishermen Jidtapon Taveeworaparsert and Sittichai Tanadpirom survived the sinking by swimming to Koh Bon, an island located off Rawai Beach at the south end of Phuket.

A search is still underway for the missing man, Atakorn Jaiboon, by a second crew of Marine Police and Disaster Prevention rescue staff.

A scientist from the Meteorological Department, Phuket, told Phuketwan that the onset of the hot season typically brings these types of storms, with unpredictable and gusting winds that last only minutes before the rain starts.

The winds are not classified as a cyclone, but she said this type of storm can hit the water like a funnel, bringing narrow bands of swirling winds that can affect a small area.

The boat could have been in the wrong place at the wrong time and hit by one of these, she said.


AT 6am TODAY search vessels resumed the hunt for more possible survivors from a dive boat that sank off Phuket.

Seven people, six tourists and a dive company staff member, are still missing.

The MV Dive Asia 1 was hit by a savage squall on Sunday night that threw the 30 people on board into the water without warning.

The craft, relatively flat-bottomed and tall, was making a regular scheduled return trip to Phuket from a dive excursion to the Similan islands.

Police have named the missing as: Jetzinger Gabrielle, Austria*; Yuba Hirotsuga, Japan; Klaus Konradoer, Austria; Monika Schuster, Austria; Sibylle Bucher, Switzerland, Rolf Niederberge, Switzerland; Jumpa Sorntat, Thailand.

Twenty-three survivors returned to Phuket late yesterday afternoon. They were plucked from dinghies by a fishing boat after 10 hours in the water, then transferred to a marine police vessel three hours later.

The Governor of Phuket, Dr Preecha Ruangjan, was organising the search for the missing seven today.

It is possible that Navy divers may be sent down to investigate the vessel if it cannot be raised to the surface.

Vice Admiral Narong Tedvisan, of the Royal Thai Navy, said today that the alarm about the dive boat being overdue was not raised until 8.30am on Monday.

He wondered why so much time elapsed between the vessel leaving the Similans, around 10pm the previous night, and the alarm being sounded.

The MV Dive Asia 1 was struck by the storm around 11pm.

Officials are believed to be discussing raising the MV Dive Asia 1, which was located on the ocean bed off Phuket about 6.30pm last night.

It is feared that some of the people on the boat may have been asleep or deep inside the vessel when the squall struck.

Weather conditions at this time of year are normally mild but bursts of sudden rain and wind have a reputation on Phuket for causing intense pockets of damage.

Early reports said the boat was in 65 metres of water.

Jurgen Schenker of Dive Asia told Phuketwan today that he believed all 23 known survivors had returned to their holiday accommodation or homes.

Eight of those on board were Diva Asia staff.

''I understand four of the people who were rescued were due to fly out this morning,'' Mr Schenker said.

All of the survivors are in good condition and were treated for sunburns caused from their exposure to the sun in the open dinghies, he said.

The two dinghies, tied together, drifted a long way to the south for several hours before being found.

When lights were spotted in the distance during the night, flares were fired, Mr Schenker was told, but no boats came to the rescue.

He has been pleased by the response by rescue and health officials following the sinking, he said.

Phuket's dive industry has been suffering from the downturn in the global economy with numbers of divers considerably reduced from last high season.

Update: Dive boat survivors
Chatree Leechoi, Thailand (captain)
Yuriko Kamada, Japan (Banthai Beach Resort and Spa)
Masayuki Kamada, Japan (Banthai Beach Resort and Spa)
Frank Bay, Germany
Kathrin Raab, Germany
Dr Stefan Mann, Germany
Michael Sampson, Australia
Markus Reitner, Germany
Kathrin Mayer, Germany (Evason Six Senses Phuket)
Danuiel Brunner, Switzerland
Voegtlin Reto, Switzerland (Garden Home Kata)
Anderegg Nicole, Switzerland (Garden Home Kata)
Stefan Grulms, Germany (Hilton Arcadia)
Suzanne Schrewe, Germany (Hilton Arcadia)
Diermaier Christian, Germany (Palm Village Rawai)
Pairat Simma, Thailand (divemaster)
Manop Jintalek, Thailand (crew)
Narin Voharn, Thailand (crew)
Dej Lhee-Chuay, Thailand (crew)
Thanaporn Rosdee, Thailand (crew)
Jukeapat Senayothee, Thailand (crew)
Jiravan Van-Ngam, Thailand (crew)

*Correction: Ms Jetzinger is from Austria, not Germany as originally reported.

Phuketwan Dive Boat Sinking File

Nightmare at Sea: How a Dive Boat Disappeared
The Boat Vanishes Long a Phuket resident, Jurgen Schenker of Dive Asia grew concerned when a dive boat failed to return to Chalong pier. Here is his first hand account of what happened.
Nightmare at Sea: How a Dive Boat Disappeared

Squall Tipped Boat Without Warning: Survivor
Dive Boat Drama Survivors reached port in Phuket this afternoon to relate their accounts of the sinking of a dive boat in the dark. But seven, named below, are still missing.
Squall Tipped Boat Without Warning: Survivor

Storm Sinks Similans Dive Boat: Seven Missing
Dive Boat Sinking A storm off the Similan islands sank a dive boat last night. The boat included Australians, Austrians, Germans, Swedes, Japanese and Thais. Seven are unaccounted for.
Storm Sinks Similans Dive Boat: Seven Missing


Comments have been disabled for this article.


If the Boat left Similans around 10pm then it would probably not be around Patong at 11pm.. if it was expected to arrive in Chalong at 2am. Tragic story.

Posted by VFaye on March 10, 2009 10:14


survivor Michael Sampson is Australian, as originally reported.

Posted by Jo on March 10, 2009 14:37

Wednesday October 5, 2022
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


Facebook Twitter