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Whitewater raft trip widows newlywed wife

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Whitewater raft trip widows newlywed wife | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Egyptian couple Hossam and Sarah boarded a plane on June 2 bound for their dream honeymoon in Phuket. However, their love story, which began in their mid-teens, came to an unfathomable and abrupt end in Phang Nga, when their tour company decided to brave rough waters and lead a whitewater rafting trip that ended in disaster.

It wasn’t until three days after the trip that the body of the honeymoon groom, Hossam Mostafa, 24, named by the Egyptian Embassy in Bangkok as Hossamellein Mostafa Abdallas Hamada, was found last Monday.

Mr Mostafa’s family agreed to talk to the Phuket Gazette in hopes that their tragic story might not be repeated by others.

“We don’t want this crisis to happen again,” explained Mr Mostafa’s cousin, Ayman Nabil.

Hossam and Sarah Mohamed Hussien were a “big love story”, said Mr Nabil. The young couple had been together since secondary school, meeting when they were about 15 or 16 years old.

After graduating from secondary school, Hossam joined the police academy where he specialized in weapons training.

It wasn’t until June 1, after years of being together, that the two formally tied the knot. They left their wedding party in the back of a refurbished convertible while pyrotechnics rocketed off in the background.

The couple arrived in Phuket on June 3.

Hossam and Sarah booked an adventure tour with Rafting Discovery Ltd, which is based in Chalong. The river, Klong Song Phraek, had been closed to rafters for the past four days, but was re-opened to rafting trips on June 8. Despite this, Rafting Discovery Ltd was the only operator running the trips on the river on June 8 – the day of the tragedy.

Sarah was reportedly hesitant about going, but eventually she and Hossam were talked into joining the whitewater rafting portion of the trip.

“The two guides told Hossam that it was safe and allowed. The last four days it had not been allowed, but now it was safe,” Mr Nabil said.

Sarah and Hossam were joined by two men from Kuwait, one of whom was also killed during the trip. Aref Atamosammad Mosammad, 48, died at the scene.

Rafting Discovery Ltd was unwilling to give any specifics as to why the raft capsized, or what happened after the incident.

“The accident this time was caused by the strong water in the river in the rainy season,” was the only explanation the company would offer.

After the raft flipped, Hossam and Sarah clung to each other.

“They were hanging onto each others hands, before the water ripped Hossam further downstream,” Mr Nabil explained.

“In his last minute, he was hanging onto his wife,” he added.

Family members are in disbelief at the treatment Sarah received from the tour agency and the local hospital.

“In this case, the physiological pain was much more powerful than the physical pain,” Mr Nabil explained.

“They released her from the hospital wearing only a hospital gown, just one or two hours after she had arrived.

“She wasn’t given any medical care. She didn’t even have shoes on her feet. She spent four hours on the bus in this condition,” he said.

To this, Phang Nga Hospital Deputy Director Dr Thipparat Tansakulprasert told the Gazette that the hospital does not have an in-house psychiatrist.

“The two injured who were sent here requested not to receive any treatment from our hospital. Besides, they asked us to transfer them to a nearby private hospital,” he said.

During the ride on the tour company bus from Phang Nga to her room in Phuket, Sarah was told nothing about whether Hossam was still alive or what search efforts were underway.

After repeated invitations from the Gazette to Rafting Discovery Ltd to provide an explanation of the sequence of events, the only statement the company would
issue was:

“Our company always cares about the safety of the customers. We confirmed that all of our equipment is up to operation standards and is always in a good condition…

“We regret this happened, and we send our deepest apologies to both families.”

Even before Hossam’s body was found, two family members were on a flight to Bangkok.

Hossam’s body was found on Monday, still wearing the life-jacket he had put on for the trip.

His body was ceremonially prepared in Phuket before it was flown to Bangkok and then on to Egypt, accompanied by family.

Hossam was buried on Wednesday, June 13.

Hossam’s family, appalled with the local government and the tour agency, is considering legal action.

Hossam is survived by his wife, his father Mostafa Abedallah Hamada, his mother Sahar Maklad, and his older brother Ahmed Mostafa Abedallah Hamada.

Additional reporting by Orawin Narabal

— Isaac Stone Simonelli



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Phuket

Slow loris released back into Phuket forest

The Thaiger

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Slow loris released back into Phuket forest | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Department of National Parks

Officers from of the Khao Phra Thaeo Non-Hunting Area have helped in the release of a slow loris back into the wild yesterday.

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation reports that the head of Khao Phra Thaeo Non-Hunting Area, Pongchart Chueahom, yesterday released the slow loris to the Khao Phra Thaeo Non-Hunting Are in Thalang.

The slow loris was found near a furniture factory in Thalang last week. It was being treated at a pet hospital before being handed over to Khun Pongchart when it was ready to be set free.

Slow loris released back into Phuket forest | News by The Thaiger Slow loris released back into Phuket forest | News by The Thaiger

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Phuket

Seastead structure dragged back to shore by Royal Thai Navy

The Thaiger

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Seastead structure dragged back to shore by Royal Thai Navy | The Thaiger

A floating seastead has today been towed by a naval vessel back to the Port of Phuket in Cape Panwa. Meanwhile the Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam is challenging the owners and builders of the structure to take the Thai Government and Navy to the International Court of Justice.

The Royal Thai Navy’s Third Fleet ventured out with a group of reporters on Saturday to inspect the floating seastead, the first of about 20 planned Ocean Builders for the open waters about 22km from Phuket’s Koh Racha Yai.

Nothing valuable was found on board the octagon-shaped steel and aluminium structure which was attached to a floating platform.

Two vessels were used in today’s operation. The living quarters were detached and placed on the first vessel and the second towed the floating platform to the shore for safe keeping pending legal action against its owner as well as the builder, Ocean Builders Company.

Dr. Wissanu said yesterday that Thai authorities were authorised to remove or dismantle the floating housing unit with or without the consent of its owner after finding the structure could pose a threat to Thai national security and sovereignty in accordance with Article 119 of the Criminal Code.

He said that the structure also posed an obstacle to vessels and was located not far from an oil rig.

Regarding the threat by Ocean Builders Company to sue the Thai government in the International Court of Justice for the removal, the deputy PM says he welcomes the move, noting that no government anywhere would allow a seastead settlement near their maritime territory.

Seasteader Chad Andrew Edwartowski and his Thai wife, Mrs. Nadia Summergirl, are wanted by the Thai police for questioning after Thai immigration revoked the American’s non-immigrant visa and blacklisted him.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

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Phuket

Phuket taxi slams into tree in Phattalung

The Thaiger

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Phuket taxi slams into tree in Phattalung | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phattalung Rescue

Two people have sustained serious injuries after a Phuket taxi slammed into a tree in Phattalung last night.

Phattalung rescue workers were notified of the accident in Mueang Pattalung District at 7.57pm last night (Sunday).

They arrived at the scene to find the Phuket registered taxi resting in front of the big tree on the side of the road near a temple. The front of the vehicle had extensive damage following the collision.

The two people who sustained serious injuries were 58 year old Wanchai Srithong and 64 year old Jamras Srithong. They were both taken to the Phattalung Hospital.

Pattalung City Police are continuing their investigation. There has been no explanation given at this stage as to why a Phuket taxi was in Phattalung.

Phuket taxi slams into tree in Phattalung | News by The Thaiger Phuket taxi slams into tree in Phattalung | News by The Thaiger

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