Phuket lifeguards continue search for missing Aussie tourist

PHUKET: The search for missing Australian tourist Jennifer Laidley, feared drowned, continued off Karon Beach today.

Lifeguards searched throughout the day using their jet-skis to comb the waters of Karon Bay, said Uten Singsom, head of the Phuket Lifeguard Club contingent assigned to patrol Kata-Karon.

He still holds on to a glimmer of hope she may be found alive, but admits time is running out fast.

“We have to find her body before we can confirm that she drowned in the sea,” a pragmatic Mr Uten said.

Ms Laidley disappeared while swimming at the popular tourist beach just after sunset last night.

“Ms Laidley and her friend arrived at the beach at about 7:15pm yesterday, after the lifeguards closed the beach and went home,” Mr Uten said.

Lifeguards in Phuket close the beaches they patrol at sunset each night.

“Before we leave, we ask all people swimming to get out of the water,” Mr Uten said.

“That area [where Ms Laidley was last seen] always has red flags posted to warn people to not swim in that area. There is a dangerous rip current there,” he added.

Mr Uten explained that Ms Laidley went for a swim while her friend went for a walk along the beach for about 15 minutes.

“When her friend came back to where Ms Laidley’s clothes were lying on the beach at about 7:30pm, she couldn’t see Ms Laidley anywhere. So she asked taxi drivers nearby for help and the drivers suggested she report it to officers at the Karon Police Box,” he said.

Lifeguards resumed their search for Ms Laidley early this morning and will continue until asked otherwise, Mr Uten added.

— Atchaa Khamlo

Phuket News

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