PHUKET: Friends of an Australian woman who fell overboard from a yacht on its way to Phuket last Thursday, and who is still missing, are puzzled as to how such an accident could have occurred.
Michelle Black, a friend of the woman, said Dr Gerald Goeden and his partner Carmel Brookes were sailing from Lankawai Island to Phuket aboard the yacht Moondancer when Ms Carmel fell overboard.
Ms Black said the couple set sail from the Langkawi Andaman Resort, where they live, on or about January 23.
“The Thai Navy have found the boat with Dr Gerald, so we have confirmation that this has actually happened, but we have no further details yet as to how or why. We cannot understand it as Gerry is a very experienced yachtsman. He was working on a coral reef project at the Andaman Resort Langkawi,” Ms Black wrote.
“He and Carmel were taking a holiday from his work to go sailing for a few weeks and had been planning their trip for some time. Carmel had been very excited and happy about it. I am a close friend of hers and I cannot imagine how this could happen to her, as she is always so careful and has been sailing with Gerry many times before,” Ms Black wrote.
“I do not know exactly where the boat was at the time, but one of our friends here who also sails, and has sailed together with them before, thought that they were not far from Koh Lanta. They actually received a distress call to their [the friends’] boat back here in Australia, which is how we were first alerted to this situation… The Thai Navy are still searching for her and as yet she has not been found.”
The Phuket Gazette this afternoon contacted all three navy bases in the area, at Cape Panwa in Phuket, Koh Lanta in Krabi, and the Navy Base at Tap Lamu in Phang Nga.
Staff at all three bases said they had not been informed of the situation and were not aware of any search and rescue operations taking place in waters under their areas of control.
The Gazette has yet to confirm whether or not Navy vessels off the coasts of Trang or Satun are involved in a search effort.
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