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Governor Nisit flies today with Joshua Devine's wife, mother and sister

Sister, Mother Set to Quiz Pattaya Dive Company About US Diver's Disappearance off Phuket

Monday, April 20, 2015
PHUKET: The sister of a missing American has called on a dive company to more adequately explain why the vessel did not stay in the area and search for Joshua Devine.

Jennifer Bakowski told Phuketwan she aimed to ask the company more questions in Pattaya directly in seeking answers about her brother's disappearance on April 11.

''We're pretty disappointed with the way that the dive company and the boat handled everything,'' she said. ''They left the scene and continued on knowing they had left somebody in the water. They've got some explaining to do.''

Jennifer Bakowski and her mother, Marie Gallant Major, flew in from the US to Phuket on Sunday after supporters paid for their trip to seek answers about the disappearance of 36-year-old Joshua.

After talking exclusively to Phuketwan, she and Mrs Major were riding a search helicopter with Phuket Governor Nisit Jansomwong and other officials today to see for themselves the area of sea in which Joshua went missing.

Both still hope that he could have made his way to shore or have been picked up by a boat.

''We're pretty happy with everything that's been done so far,'' she said, blaming her criticism from the US of the search on distance and poor information.

''The news halfway round the world doesn't do justice to what's been going on. We are very appreciative of what's been done so far.

''They [the Marine Police] have been searching for seven days and they've gotten the Navy involved. Now that we're here, we see that the search has been above and beyond what we imagined would be going on.''

Once the pair complete today's search over and beyond the spot where the diver was reported missing about 17 miles off Phuket's Bang Tao beach, they will be heading on to Pattaya, where the diving company Mermaids Dive Centre is based.

Joshua, an IT specialist living in Kuwait and working with the US military, was a frequent visitor to Pattaya, often with Tadsana, his Thai wife of five years. She was also on the hired liveaboard when her husband apparently got ''very drunk,'' according to witnesses, and behaved out of character before vanishing into the early morning darkness.

After talking in Pattaya to others who were on board the vessel, the pair hope to head for Bangkok for an update from the US Embassy ''and see whether they have the police report.''

''They weren't able to give it to me yesterday,'' she said. The hope is that Joshua may have made it to land or be alive on board a fishing boat or some other passing vessel, and yet to get in contact.

His mother said tearfully that the Thai authorities had ''executed the same type of water search that the US Coastguard would have done.

''They've searched a lot and unfortunately found nothing. I just want to see the area and get an idea of what's possible. I hope he's sitting somewhere or on a fishing boat, waiting to be picked up.''

In a statement a few days ago, Mermaids Dive Centre said that after Joshua Devine disappeared, the vessel conducted ''an ocean search for the missing passenger in a logical, planned manner using large spotlights while many members of the dive trip assisted with torches.''

''The dive boat departed from the search area at approximately 3pm,'' the statement said, carrying 22 other passengers plus crew on to their dive adventure off the Similan islands.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Make no sense to search to search for 7 days, starting with 4th day after disappearance and 2nd day after global media outrage, being more linked to the latter than former.

Yes, for PR - "improving image of Phuket" there is always available helicopter, just wonder why they call it "search helicopter", if it more concerned about what passengers they are carrying than with any sensible search.

Still for SAR in the early morning on the day of disapearance, there is no helicopter available.

Obviously, relatives are being talked into a tale of "we have done everything right and everything possible and even more", and as 1st time visitors to Thailand they will slip on this sweet talk, judging by empty words, not by actions.

Posted by Sue on April 20, 2015 12:53


This family are American the richest country in the world which is good for them as I wonder if they were from Myanmar or Laos not only how the reporting would be (not just with PW) made here and in their home country and the world but in general how much time and money would be put into the search even with the Governor personally involved. If we look at Europe in the last few days literally millions of dollars has been spent saving people trying to enter Europe with little or no money, education and illegally, not tourists but people coming from third world countries but still the heart and soul of many countries, headed by Italy is there for them. an example to the world I am glad I am a European citizen. Perhaps Australia should note this as they are spawned mainly from European descent but their immigration policy is way too restrictive especially for a country of Immigrants- Would this sad event get the same attention if he was from fisherman from Myanmar, or a Tourist from Laos?

Posted by I am prettty far from ok. on April 20, 2015 12:58

Editor Comment:

Australia is a strange place, built on the backs of people who arrived by sea. Having overwhelmed the native inhabitants, the successors of the boatpeople are now determined to stop others arriving by sea. Go figure.


It's very likely that this would not have been done for a local or a neighboring country citizen and that is sad in and of itself. Every life has value and should be treated as such. That however is not the issue in the case of my brother. It is not just sweet talk that the Thai's have given my mother and I. Our own Embassy and my sister in law have told us that this is the largest search they've seen conducted for one person in the water. Actually seeing the maps and the reports of what they have done, has put our minds at ease, that they have some everything they can. The area is massive and yet they still went out and looked. There were some delays and some translation issues along the way but I feel the search has been thorough. Please understand that we can see your comments and as this is already a terrible time for us, your hurtful comments make it worse.

Posted by Anonymous on April 20, 2015 16:01


I hope when you say the comments you mean comment as in my comment it certainly was not meant to upset you and does say the fact that you are American is good for you and you confirm this is the biggest search ever so I have not said anything bad or spiteful. Looking at how Europe responds to everyone in the water my intention is to draw attention to the authorities the fact is a life is a life whether you are American, British like myself or Laos, Burmese etc. You are lucky you have had a detailed search for him. I do hope they find him I am also an advanced diver. Have they studied detailed tide pattern movements and spoken to local fisherman about tides as this could help. If they do not have the detailed tide info can it be obtained from satellites from another country?

Posted by I am pretty far from ok on April 20, 2015 18:19


@I am pretty far from ok

Very correct about Europe: today when opening the Twitter I was amazed to see that even at the gathering of the EU MFAs today, the ministers hold a minute of silence for drawn migrants, and the issue is on the same level on agenda for further actions:

At the same time, some other people start to deal with consequence of riducilous lack of putting in action of adequate, but available at the time of incident , SAR facilities for JD only after well-spent Songkran.

Posted by Sue on April 20, 2015 18:52


In case you are upset about my nickname it is actually a polite phrase from Pulp Fiction and you can see I use it on many articles on Phuketwan not only this story. Sorry for any offence caused it was not my intention and once again I hope he is found.

Posted by I am pretty far from ok on April 20, 2015 19:59


The head line to this story "Sister, Mother Set to Quiz Pattaya Dive Centre About US Diver's Disappearance off Phuket"

I own the PATTAYA DIVE CENTRE a PADI 5 Star IDC centre, and would like everybody to know that we had nothing to do with this trip. it was another dive centre here in Pattaya.

David Wright

Posted by Anonymous on April 21, 2015 09:52

Editor Comment:

We've changed ''centre'' to ''company.''

Thursday July 18, 2024
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