Phuket dinghy found adrift, deckhand missing

PHUKET: A crew member of a Phuket fishing boat charter company was reported missing this morning in Chalong Bay.

Nati Tavorn, a deckhand for Phuket Fish Boat, failed to arrive at the company offices after spending the night aboard one of the company’s boats in Chalong Bay.

A search of the pier and beach by company staff, where the boat Reely-Nauti was moored, revealed no sign of Mr Tavorn or the boat’s dinghy.

“They couldn’t find the dinghy but his motorcycle is parked somewhere around here. So, we took our second dinghy and one of our boats and started searching for him,” Martin Eleveld, owner of Phuket Fish Boat, told the Phuket Gazette.

“We found a Thai fishing boat heading out to [Cape] Panwa with my dinghy. We called the police and they came out, but basically [the fishermen] said they found the dinghy adrift off Coral Island [Koh Hei],” he added.

Phuket Fish Boat has two boats. The company’s four crew members work on rotation. Last night was Mr Nati’s turn to stay aboard one of the boats, but he did not show up for an 8:30am meeting, Mr Eleveld explained.

“The combination of the [missing crew member and dinghy] really has me concerned,” Mr Eleveld added.

Phuket Fish Boat runs charter fishing trips from Phuket.

Mr Nati, who Mr Eleveld said is about 49 years old, has been with the company for a year and a half and has known his employer for about three years.

“It is totally out of character for him to just drop off the map like that. His phone isn’t working either. He’ll usually answer his phone or call back, but I hear from my crew that they haven’t been able to call him all morning,” Mr Eleveld said.

Witnesses reported seeing Mr Nati walking around Chalong Pier at about 11pm last night and Mr Eleveld is waiting to view CCTV footage of the area where dinghies are usually dock there.

“Basically we have to wait and see,” Mr Eleveld said.

Chalong Police received a report of Mr Nati’s disappearance at 11am, Lt Nitikorn Rawang told the Gazette.

“At this point nothing is certain, but we will be intensifying our search if he cannot be located within the next few days,” Lt Nitikorn said.

— Michael DesPortes

Phuket News

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