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Dr Gerald Goeden with Carmel Brookes on a visit to Penang in 2009

Body of Phuket-Bound Yachtie Missing in Moondancer Riddle

Tuesday, February 21, 2012
PHUKET: Questions are still being asked about the circumstances surrounding the loss of an Australian yachtswoman overboard on a voyage to Phuket earlier this month.

Vice Admiral Thavatorn Thinsuwan, Commander of Royal Thai Navy 3, said today he was puzzled why the Navy's assistance was not sought until 24 hours after the disappearance of Carmel Brookes, 60.

Ms Brookes set sail from Langkawi to Phuket with her partner, Dr Gerald Goeden, on January 23. Dr Goeden later told officials that Ms Brookes appeared to have fallen overboard somewhere between Trang and Koh Lanta, according to a friend.

Officers at the Sea Rescue Centre in Krabi told Phuketwan that they had been informed the sailing trip was a holiday break from Dr Goeden's work on reef research in Langkawi.

Friends and relatives of Ms Brookes have been told that the pair were taking turns at the helm of the yacht, Moondancer.

Michelle Black, a friend of Ms Brookes, later wrote: ''When his [Dr Goeden's] alarm went off, signalling it was time for him to take over, he went up on deck.

''But she wasn't there. Apparently she had a sailing safety harness on, but it had been unattached from the boat.''

According to officials at the Krabi Rescue Centre, the pair had been drinking before Dr Goeden turned in, police in Krabi were told.

The officials are puzzled as to why the pair were taking turns at the helm when they were on a relaxing holiday.

''Most yachties tend to anchor for the night on trips between Langkawi and Phuket,'' one official said.

Although the weather is usually mild in the Andaman Sea at this time of year, there can be squalls and strong breezes.

Do Goeden told police that he searched on Moondancer for Ms Brookes for several days before making to land.

He had set off an emergency signal when he discovered Ms Brookes was missing, her relatives were told. The signal was picked up in Australia.

Vice Admiral Thavatorn said today that officials and vessels in the region were now on the lookout for Ms Brookes' body.

He said the lessons were that alcohol is best not consumed on yachts while at sea, and that life jackets should be warn for safety at all times.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


I have been Carmel's friend for 22 years, and I know her very well.She was a careful, responsible woman and was not a drinker apart from an occasional glass of wine with a meal, out for dinner or with friends. I could say for certain that if she thought she'd had too much to drink she would NOT be at the helm of the yacht, NO WAY! I would like to know where this information came from? Is it just speculation? All I can say is that my dearest friend is gone and I can't understand why more wasn't done to find her?!This is just like a nightmare for me and her other friends back here in Australia. Why aren't the authorities there, both Thai & Australian doing some further investigating into this? We all want some answers, and some peace about our friend who was a beautiful caring and sensible person. Please DO NOT compare her to some of the other drinking Australian tourists that come to Phuket!

Posted by Michelle Black on February 22, 2012 08:57

Editor Comment:

The information has come to us from police and officials in Krabi. Most yachts that sail between Langkawi and Phuket don't keep sailing, day and night, unless it's a race. Only one person can answer your questions.


I really hope that the truth comes out and her body is found for a proper farewell for friends and family.

Posted by davidj949 on February 22, 2012 10:07


Carmel's partner Dr Gerry Goeden has told us what happened as far as he knows and the reason they decided to sail that night. He also did not drink and if somebody saw them have a glass of wine maybe with their evening meal, that is not enough reason to speculate that alcohol was involved in this incident. That may be the case with many other incidents/accidents involving tourists there, but I'm sure that it would not be for my friends. We would just like her to be found and to us back here it seems like not enough was done in time, and it is very hard to accept. To lose a dear friend when you know what happened is hard enough but this way is inconsolable. I still just pray that somehow she and the answers will be found, so we can have some peace about it.

Posted by Michelle on February 22, 2012 20:59


I certainly hope that relevant authorities are still doing everything they can to investigate or locate Ms Brookes's body so at least there will be a firm answer for everyone.I read that she's an experienced sailor so how could something like this have happened? It sounds so fishy. What is her partner doing now? Is he doing anything to look for her or getting on with his life? I do not know her but still pray for her to be found.

Posted by Peace on May 9, 2012 12:21

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