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Phuket search continues for missing American diver

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PHUKET: The Phuket Marine Police are continuing their search today for an American scuba diver who went missing from a Similans-bound liveaboard early Saturday morning.

Joshua Michael Devine, 36, a civilian IT operative working at a United States military base in Kuwait, was on the CRP Transport diving trip with his Thai wife and 22 other divers.

“We arrived in Phuket Friday afternoon, after having spent almost two weeks in Pattaya, where we own an apartment,” Mr Devine’s 36-year-old wife, Thadsana, told the Phuket Gazette.

“We arrived with 10 other divers from Pattaya, Thais and foreigners, who were joining us on the trip.”

The couple, who were married in 2010, had made a similar trip to the Similan Islands about three years ago.

“Joshua was drinking with some of the other divers on the boat that night, while I was in the bedroom. At about 4am he came into the cabin very drunk and making all kinds of noise,” Mrs Thadsana said.

“He was shouting, so two of the guys he just made friends with came in and took him away to calm him down.

“I was told to just rest in my room.”

Mrs Thadsana told the Gazette that she couldn’t get back to sleep, and about 15 minutes later one of the men returned to see of Mr Devine had come back to the room.

“The man said that Joshua wanted to be alone. We searched the boat, but couldn’t find him,” Mrs Thadsana said. “I hope my husband is still alive.”

The boat captain didn’t report Mr Devine as a missing person until about 10am, confirmed the Phuket Marine Police. Mrs Thadsana couldn’t account for the delay in notifying authorities.

“We marked the point of disappearance from the boat, Chontara 1, at about 17 nautical miles from Bang Tao Beach,” Phuket Marine Police chief Panya Chaichana told the Gazette. “We immediately sent out a vessel to do a five nautical mile sweep around the area he went missing.”

The search continued from 10am to sunset.

“Yesterday, we sent out another boat and contacted the Navy to have them launch an aerial search. A helicopter was sent out, but also failed to locate Mr Devined,” Lt Col Panya said. “The search was called off at sunset.”

Today, Marine Police were obligated to fulfill Songkran tour boat safety checks, following a 12-year-old Israeli girl dying in a Phi Phi ferry blaze last week (story here).

“Once we were finished with the safety checks, we resumed our search for Mr Devine,” Col Panya told the Gazette today.

— Chutharat Plerin

 

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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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