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The dive boat MV Dive Asia 1: seven missing after sinking

Storm Sinks Similans Dive Boat: Seven Missing

Monday, March 9, 2009
Phuketwan Urgent Updating Report

SEVEN PEOPLE are reported missing after a dive boat sank in a storm off the Andaman coast last night.

The boat contained 30 people, the Royal Navy told Phuketwan.

Tearful survivors arrived back at the deep sea port on Phuket this afternoon on board a police boat after being rescued by a fishing vessel.

The captain of the sunken craft, the MV Dive Asia 1, Chatree Leechoi, 45, told Phuketwan that his boat had been overturned by a sudden squall off the Similan islands.

A dive company spokesperson said there were Germans, Austrians, Australians, Swiss, Swedes, Japanese and Thais on board.

This afternoon a Marine Police officer told Phuketwan that seven people were missing: two Swiss, two Austrians, one Thai, one German, one Japanese.

The Governor of Phuket, Dr Preecha Ruangjan, interrupted hosting a visit by a Royal princess today to order a helicopter search of the area in which the seven people are missing.

The Navy said they were contacted by the diving company at 8.30am today, when a search began.

The boat was named by the Navy as the MV Dive Asia 1.

A spokesperson for Dive Asia said today: ''I really can't tell you anything because we don't know anything.

The last we heard was at 10pm last night from the boat when everything was ok.''

The spokesperson was on his way to the deep sea port on Phuket to greet survivors.

The Similan islands made news earlier this year when tourists told of encountering Royal Navy officers holding Rohingya boat people under arrest on a beach there.

Andaman coast weather is normally quite calm at this time of year but the sudden squalls around Phuket are savage.

A sudden wind burst that came in the midst of a storm drove One-Two-Go holiday flight 269 into the ground at Phuket airport in 2007, killing 90 of 130 people on board.

An email to Phuketwan this afternoon said: ''Dear All,

''With great sadness we have to inform you that our MV Dive Asia 1 sunk last night the 8th of March at around 11pm on the way back from Similan to Phuket.

''To our knowledge most of our guest and crew were able to get into the life raft and where picked up by a fishing boat around noon.

''Right now this people are being transferred to a Thai Police Vessel and are on the way to shore and should arrive soon.

''Six people are still missing and a search in the area is underway. Your support is greatly appreciated. [The figure was subsequently revised to seven]

''At this moment we do not know the reason for the accident and we will keep you posted.

''Best Regards,
''Benno and Juergen''

Squall Tipped Boat Without Warning: Survivors Tell
Dive Boat Drama Survivors reached port in Phuket this afternoon to relate their accounts of the sinking of a dive boat in the dark. Seven are still missing.
Squall Tipped Boat Without Warning: Survivors Tell


Comments have been disabled for this article.


That storm that send the One 2 Go airliner down had been there for min 30 minutes, and it where a BIG mistake by the airport to let the plane land !! So both the pilot and the Airport are the ones to blame ! I hope the airport had found out of that when there is rainstorms here they close the airport, or it will happen again ! I had been landing here several times where it where very bad and nearly too much sidewind to land after my opinion !

Posted by Karsten on March 9, 2009 18:57


My son Mr. Peter Lanz a Swiss but living Singapore is on a diving trip in Kao Lak. Has anyone news who was on that diving boat sunk last night? Thanks

Posted by Hans Lanz on March 9, 2009 20:55


@hans lanz :

Dive Asia's M/V is NOT leaving from Khao Lak, Hans, they are leaving from Phuket/Chalong, therefore I think, your son wasn't on the Dive Asia boat.
Updating List of survivors

Chatree Leechoi Thailand (captain)

Yuriko Kamada Japan (Baan Thai Beach Resort and Spa)

Masayuki xxxx Japan (Baan Thai Beach Resort and Spa)

Frank Bay German

Kath Raab German

Dr Stefan Mam German

Michael Sampson Australia

Marhus Reitner German

Kathrin Mayer German (Evason Six Senses Phuket)

David Brunner

Voegtlin Reto Switzerland (Garden Home Kata)

Anderegg Nicole Switzerland (Garden Home Kata)

Stefan Grulms German (Hilton Arcadia)

Suzanne Schrew German (Hilton Arcadia)

Diermarer Christian (Palm Village Rawai)

Pairat Simma Thailand (divemaster)

Manop Jintalek (crew)

Narin Voharn (crew)

Dej Lhee-Chuay (crew)

Thanaporn Rosdee (crew)

Jukeapat Senayothee (crew)

Jiravan Van-Ngam (crew)

Posted by caroline on March 9, 2009 22:20


There is a list of survivors here on this site.

Posted by M on March 9, 2009 22:22


@ hans :

Police have issued the following list of seven people who were on the boat but remain unaccounted for:

German national Ms Jetzinger Gabrielle;

Japanese national Mr Yuba Hirotsuga;

Austrians Mr Klaus Konradder and Ms Monika Schuster;

Swiss natives Ms Sibylle Bucher and Mr Rolf Niederberge;

Thai national Ms Jumpa ''Gen'' Sorntat - the boat's cook.

Posted by caroline on March 9, 2009 22:41


Thanks to everybody given me informations that the boat did not leave from khao lak ,and to caroline giving me the list of the still missing persons. Thanks

Hans Lanz

Posted by Hals Lanz on March 10, 2009 00:10


@ hans : my pleasure I hope your son is fine ...

Posted by caroline on March 10, 2009 09:07


It is wrong to print a minor portion of the as of yet unreleased in Thailand 1-2 go crash report without including the official cause - Pilot Error (no one pushed the engines to full throttle.)

Posted by Mustava Mond on March 10, 2009 11:37


Was it overbooked as on our trip on 17.2.-22.2.09?
And we will not stop asking till get an answer: We just want to know when the EPIRB, if there was one, was activated, when was the signal received? Did the captain and crew check the cabins for trapped passengers before leaving the ship? When did the company Dive Asia report the missing ship?
Editor: I can answer some of your questions. No, the boat was not overbooked. Because the boat was thrust onto a sharp angle by the storm's first blast, there was no possibility of any check on cabins. (Read the Australian survivor's account). Dive Asia reported the boat missing at 8am the following morning, when it is usually met at Chalong pier. What is EPIRB?

Posted by Dr. Michael Beer on March 15, 2009 13:48


There are some very unclear, not saying strange, contradictions in DIVE ASIA'S given chronology, which I would as a long term friend of one of the victims, as well as a yachtsmen who circumnavigated Australia, NZ and crossed the Indian ocean twice, as well as a participant of the Similan Tour 17.2.-22.2.09 on this vessel, like to be cleared up:
1. Did the vessel have an EPIRB?
2. If yes, when was the signal transmitted?
3. There was certainly a maritime radio on board. When was a distress signal received?
4. What authorities issued the master's certificate of the captain of the sunk vessel?
5. Which shipyard built this seagoing vessel, which was supposed to carry safely guests from all over the world?
6. When was the ship approved by the relevant authorities?
7. Due to the fact that DIVE ASIA runs a company which takes for a lot of money divers from all over the world, on those dive safaris, the sunk seagoing ship certainly had been insured with an internationally recognized insurance company. Which company? What had been the conditions to be met to cover eventually loss of the vessel, meaning construction, safety equipment etc.?
8. Is there or will there be an (international recognized) investigation in this tragic accident?

I very much appreciate honest answers and do not expect a cover up as is usually done in Asia.

Posted by Michael Beer on March 21, 2009 10:38


Real life insurance comes from the money you spend on things like VHF radios, life rafts, first aid equipment, navigation equipment AND the Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB).
In a recent test of the 406 MHz model, a Naval Academy midshipman found out how effective it was. The test signal was identified within four minutes and pinpointed within 15 minutes. If that is not enough to convince you, the comparison chart below may help you make up your mind whether or not you want to "bet your life" to save a little money.

Posted by Nautical JackFlash on March 21, 2009 11:49


Dream on Mr. Beer, this is Thailand. If you want safety and accountability, you'll need to choose another country for your holiday.

Posted by Christy on March 21, 2009 12:08


Christy, you are completely WRONG! Do you really mean, that holidays in Thailand carry a permanent risk loosing your life. You can't be serious. They take hard currencies from Europeans, Australians and Japanese and we can expect international standards and regulations. I strongly doubt that you would talk like this if one of your family members would be one of the victims. And as I know already: there was NO EPIRB on this seagoing vessel.
Editor: What is your evidence for saying that? (Don't be too concerned about other comments.)

Posted by Michael Beer on March 21, 2009 16:25


Mr Beer. Yes, 'adventure' holidays, particularly scuba diving, do carry a permanent risk of loss of life. Some Western insurance companies exclude scuba diving in their basic travel insurance policies for this very reason.
Just because a tourist from Europe, Austrailia or Japan pays hard currency for a holiday, does not give them the right to international standards. The standards required to be achieved are those laid down by the country of operation, in this case, Thailand. Not Austrailia. Not Japan. Thailand. A country just above third world standards. If you want European style safety standards, then stay in Europe.
You'll be complaining next that the restaurants you pay hard currency to eat in, don't follow European hygiene standards for food storage. That they wash their dishes in cold water. Or that the vehicles on the streets do not conform to European safety standards. Or that the drink-drive laws are not enforced. Or that the taxi drivers routinely carry unlicenced firearms.
Why come here if you want your European standards in everything?
The boat doesn't carry an EPIRB because it doesn't need to carry one in Thai waters. The boats here are built using local knowledge and are not built to LLoyds of London international standards. Do your homework BEFORE paying your hard currency, and if you don't like it, don't use the service.

Editor: For the seven victims of this disaster, your advice comes too late. Many Thais in tourism and diving are concerned to raise essential water safety standards to international levels, as fast as possible.

Posted by Mr Mann on March 22, 2009 10:52


Mr Mann, I am very sorry and shocked about your very low - if any - sensitivity level.
And we are not talking about a Thai (Asian) Company. We are talking about German High Standard Management (at least that is what they - DIVE ASIA - are telling us on their website), who take a lot of money from western divers who have a RIGHT to return safe to their countries.
I just received an answer from Arnold Obermayr, Counsellor
Deputy Head of Mission, Austrian Embassy, telling us that the inquiries are still going on.
And Mr. Mann, I would really like to know, how would you feel and respond, if there would have been your wife, sister, friend among the victims. Just think a little bit, before you write ...

Posted by Michael Beer on April 8, 2009 14:58


At last! Someone with real expertise gives us the answer. Thanks!

Posted by Kerriann on December 18, 2011 07:41

Wednesday October 5, 2022
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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