Two foreign kayakers rescued from Phuket sea

The search for two missing foreign tourists who disappeared after renting kayaks from a hotel on Coconut Island in Phuket, southern Thailand, on Friday has been called off. It turns out they were rescued by the captain of a yacht later that day.

At 6pm yesterday, officers at Mueang Phuket Police Station, Tourist Police, Phuket Marine Police, and Koh Kaeo subdistrict officials announced the results of their search.

The search party scoured the seas for two days but found no signs of the foreign tourists or their kayaks. Then, the police were contacted by the captain of a yacht, 46 year old Witthaya, or “Bangson,” yesterday.

Bangson informed the police that he saw the heads of two people poking out of the water near two floating kayaks near Koh Rang Yai island on Friday evening.

He said the kayaks were full of water making them unusable so the tourists – nationality unknown – were forced out of them and were floating at sea. He said he suspects the cause to be a drainage issue.

Bangson pulled the tourists and kayaks up onto his yacht and headed back to shore, docking at Royal Marina Pier in Koh Kaew subdistrict. The tourists left the kayaks with the port security guard.

Meanwhile, a search party was launched after the tourists never returned to the kayak shop.

Until yesterday, Bangson saw on social media that Mueang Phuket Police Station had announced that two foreign kayakers were missing, so he rang the police to call off the search.

The nationality of the foreign tourists is unknown.

In September last year, two tourists got swept out to sea while kayaking off the coast of Rayong province. One of the men drowned and the other clung to his friend’s body all night in the open sea until he was rescued by a passing fishing boat in the morning.

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.