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Missing Phuket fishing crew all safely rescued

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PHUKET: Phuket rescue teams saved two missing fishermen today who were on board a boat that sunk while hunting for lost fishing gear near Koh Mai Thon yesterday.

All four men have now been safely brought back to Phuket. However, the boat is gone, confirmed Marine Police Division Chief Maj Gen Kritapol Yeesakorn.

“I didn’t think we would make it. I am thankful that we are so lucky to still be alive and thankful to everyone who helped us,” said the 39-year-old captain of Jor Tuemsup, Nantaporn Boonsit.

Mr Nantaporn was washed up on the rocks near Koh Mai Thon after being adrift at sea for several hours.

“I then walked along the rocks calling for help from the villagers. I later learned that one of my crew was rescued by a speedboat (story here) and I thought I had heard the emergency whistles from my other two men,” Mr Nantaporn said.

The other two men – both Myanmar nationals – named only as ‘Mr Joe’ and ‘Mr Chuay’, were safely recovered by Phuket Provincial Administration Organization rescue workers and taken from Koh Mai Thon to Rassada Pier.

The crew had left Phuket at about 2pm yesterday to search for fishing equipment lost near Koh Mai Thon.

“The sea was calm until about 10.45pm, when suddenly we were hit by a big wave. We took the boat to the leeward side of Koh Mai Thon to hide from the waves. We were there until about 1.30am, when I called the boat owner to inform him that were heading back to Phuket, but was fearful of the rough seas,” Mr Nantaporn said.

In between Koh Tapao and Koh Mai Thon, the boat was struck by another large wave and started to take on water.

“We decided to put on our life jackets and abandoned ship,” he said.

Kritsana Tanpan, the boat owner, was able to stay in contact with the crew until about 4.30am.

“I thought the battery had died, but I was worried about them nonetheless. I am so very thankful that they are all alive and well,” Mr Kritsana said. “I’m not worried about the boat. We can always get a new one.”

— Kritsada Mueanhawong

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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