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Joshua Devine: well-liked by everyone, he appeared to be ''very drunk''

Missing Diver Was 'Very Drunk'

Wednesday, April 15, 2015
UPDATING All Day, Every Day

FAMILY members will arrive in Thailand on Saturday to assist in the search efforts, according to

Original Report

PHUKET: Witnesses interviewed by Phuket police last night over the disappearance of American diver Joshua Devine agreed he was ''very drunk'' before he vanished from a dive boat, the investigating officer said today.

Lieutenant Thanapob Rattanaburi grilled Britons Daniel Burn, John Pashley, Andrew Patrick Mead, a Thai dive instructor and a crewman, who arrived back on Phuket last night. Mrs Tadsana Devine was also questioned again.

Widespread news coverage in the US also appears to have triggered belated interest among authorities on the Thai holiday island.

The Governor of Phuket accompanied the wife of the 36-year-old diver in a helicopter flight today on a search over the sea where he went missing early on Saturday.

Governor Nisit Jansomwong was also photographed on the deck of a Marine Police vessel with Phuket Marine Office 5 chief Phuripat Theerakulpisut and Mrs Devine.

''The witnesses all said that Mr Devine was very drunk before he disappeared,'' Lieutenant Thanapob told Phuketwan today.

Other passengers noticed Mr Devine missing from the Chontara I, about 17 miles off the coast of Phuket's Bang Tao beach, about 4am on Saturday.

According to the witnesses from the dive boat, the vessel then backtracked along its course for 10 miles, lit up and using beams to look for the man overboard.

Having failed to spot Mr Devine, the vessel then motored in a circle around the 10-mile radius to broaden the search area.

''Having found nothing, the Chontara I renewed its voyage to the Similan islands, a popular dive spot, about 7am,'' Lieutenant Thanapob said he was told.

A Marine Police vessel arrived in the search area about 10am.

Marine Police, with Kusoldharm Foundation search and rescue workers in a dinghy, continued looking for Mr Devine until nightfall then picked up Mrs Devine from the dive boat anchored in the Similans, arriving back on Phuket about 9pm.

On the following day, Sunday, a Royal Thai Navy helicopter briefly joined the search.

The Marine Police vessel continued to look for Mr Devine until 5pm.

On Monday, the Marine Police vessel ventured out between 10am and late afternoon, pushed back to harbor by a storm.

On Tuesday, the search was limited to 10am-2pm.

Tourist Police, national park rangers, village volunteer organisations and fishing networks along the coast have all been alerted to look for the missing diver.

Questions are likely to be asked in the wake of Mr Devine's disappearance about mixing alcohol and diving and about search and rescue resources in the Phuket region.

The holiday island is the richest province outside of Bangkok yet is poorly equipped to deal with emergencies on beaches and at sea.

The disappearance of Joshua Devine came days after a ferry travelling between the province of Krabi and Phuket caught fire and sank, with the death of 12-year-old Israeli Shani Maril and a frantic plunge into the sea by 117 survivors.

The cause of the burning and sinking has yet to be established. Representatives from the 12 or more nationalities on board the vessel are asking whether the ferry's crew was trained to fight fires and whether there were sufficient working fire extinguishers on board.

While tourism brings huge sums of money to Phuket and Thailand's Andaman coast, expat observers reckon most of it circulates in corrupt payments which go untaxed.

Enforcement is lax. As a result, said one veteran of two decades in Patong, ''tourists endure five-star prices, three-star service and two-star safety.''

Mr Devine, who lived and worked in Kuwait as an IT contractor to the US military, left Phuket with his wife and 24 other passengers and crew of seven on the liveaboard at midnight on Friday.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


There is to much focus on the mood/condition of the missing diver, mr J.Devine. But all talks, no prove, no facts.
Fact is, according PW report here, that the dive boat left the search scene at 7:00 AM, just after sunrise ( good time for search).The Marine police vessel arrived at the scene at 10:00 AM. acoording international ( Sar) regulations, the dive boat was obliged to continue search until it was dismissed by the Marine police boat.

Posted by Kurt on April 15, 2015 11:35

Editor Comment:

PW hopes the key issues relating to both the slow and ineffective SAR for Mr Devine and the questions about the skills, training and fire-fighting ability of the ferry crew are raised when Phuket's honorary consuls meet the Governor on Tuesday - for the first time since September.


Sad story... don't drink and swim.

Posted by J on April 15, 2015 12:40


It is not nice to hear for family and friends but if the victim was very drunk (according to several witnesses) on a boat it is pretty important.

Posted by FS on April 15, 2015 14:35

Editor Comment:

Mr Devine is, from all accounts, a delightful guy but a different person when drinking. Alcohol and boats are not a great mix.


@FS- the incident happened on Saturday- very easy since then for 'witnesses' to have discussed, possibly colluded or otherwise if something untoward has taken place. Internet Detectives seem to be having a field day with this at the moment. I feel sorry for the family having to read some of the BS on the net, especially on a well known 'Geezer Forum'. The truth will probably never be known about this incident.

Posted by Mister Ree on April 15, 2015 15:24


Back when I used to be a tour leader in Similans, among others, I would tell my divers that if anyone would have more than 1 beer the night before, they would not be on the morning dive.

For an instructor to be piss drunk just a few hours before the first dive would be incredibly irresponsible.

I'm not saying it did not happen and sure PADI also stands for Phuket Association of Drunken Instructors but something just is not right here.

Posted by Herbert on April 15, 2015 16:12


Good to hear that Governor Nisit Jansomwong has joined in the search efforts

Posted by Ted Nguyen on April 15, 2015 18:36


I am somewhat amazed that the company Mermaids can just look for approximately 2-3 hours and just leave the seen, It's a joke. People onboard should be ashamed, also where was the duty of care. If they knew Mr Devine was intoxicated then somebody should really have look after him. what really happened in that store room ? You can not blame the Thai Royal Navy for this entirely. Yes they did react slowly, however they are still looking. What about the company that chartered the boat they went on to complete their trip having fun, it was like nothing had happened.

Posted by Tony on April 16, 2015 08:08

Editor Comment:

The Royal Thai Navy is not being blamed by us or anyone else, Tony. What a left-field thing to say. SAR is the speciality of other marine organisations. What needs a response is, where was the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation in all this? How is it that putting one Marine Police vessel to sea is considered an adequate response? Tourism safety is one of those issues that everyone agrees is important, then island authorities actually do as little as possible . . . and the governor really needs to learn very quickly that Phuket's future depends on his relationship with the international community, the people who bring all the money. Everything else is less important. The failings in this aspect of tourism safety have been known for a very long time. But Phuket has a Marine Office 5 chief, who when asked about (accurate) reports of a collision between a dive boat and a yacht responds with: '' rumor.'' Phuket safety is a constant issue.



Posted by What about the wife? on April 16, 2015 09:31

Editor Comment:

Total rubbish. Go away. Your thoughtless attempts at creating trouble are not wanted.


according to his wife, Josh believed the light fittings in the cabins were secret cameras

Posted by john on April 16, 2015 11:09

Editor Comment:

Indeed. People sometimes react in strange ways to alcohol.


Mermaids Dive Center just issued legal statement regarding what happened on board MV Chontara during trip they booked through

Posted by john on April 16, 2015 17:27

Editor Comment:

Thanks john, we've incorporated the statement in our update.


Ok I'm sick of all this. Josh was drunk he supplied his own alcohol. He chose to drink untill 3am plus.the five people questioned was not taken from the live on board and delivered by speed boat we came in to port after our trip. Questioned as witnesses. We surched the boat and area from where josh was known missing untill 13.30 when the police arrived to take over the search. This is a diving community. not 4 days of press releases and they still won't look at the facts. i was there

Posted by john pash on April 16, 2015 17:27


It is completely irresponsible to allow alcohol to be on board the dive boat.

Posted by Mark on April 16, 2015 20:41


Re: Choosing this photo of the (presumably) deceased to head the article, I guess there is just no low to which PW will not stoop...

Posted by matt on April 17, 2015 10:00

Editor Comment:

The article and photograph were posted quite some time ago and you are the first person to offer any criticism, matt. Have you ever thought that your perceptions could be the problem? We see nothing wrong with the photo. It shows a man with a sense of humor. Your odd and often unreasonable prejudices against PW are evident from previous postings.


editor - I disagree with ur comment regarding the photo. It appears to place him in a different light. On so many other sites his military photo was the one used; yet never on here.

Posted by Let's be real on April 18, 2015 13:14

Editor Comment:

His military background has nothing to do with his disappearance. All the photos we've used are more recent and therefore more relevant. Sites that have only used the photo of Joshua in uniform are playing to their conservative audiences. We also have that photo. Unless he was in uniform at the time of his disappearance, it has absolutely no relevance.


why has the headline continuously been about being drunk? Have there been any headlines about the other details such as why it took so long to report him missing? What about continuing the trip? I can't go on because it will give away questions others of authority will be asking soon!!!

Posted by Be real on April 18, 2015 13:21

Editor Comment:

One headline is about Joshua being ''very drunk,'' according to five witnesses. Your other questions have already been answered in a series of articles. Try reading them.


John pash - why r u so upset? Did u lose sleep or did this interrupt your trip?? Easy about ur comments, tiger!!!

Posted by Be real on April 18, 2015 13:27

Wednesday May 18, 2022
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