Thai Navy and Marine Police Step up Search for Missing US Diver
PHUKET – Navy and marine police rescuers continued to search for a US scuba diver Joshua Devine who disappeared from a live-aboard dive boat after leaving Phuket for the Similan islands Saturday.
Vice Adm Sayan Pasongsamret, chief of the 3rd Naval Area Command, and Phuket governor Nisit Chansomwong on Wednesday ordered navy and marine police crews and divers from relevant agencies to continue looking for Joshua Michael Devine, who went missing early April 11.
Mr Devine’s disappearance did not occur during a scheduled dive. The Phuket Gazette reported he had been drinking all night with fellow divers and got into an argument. The paper then quoted passengers as saying he went to a different part of the boat to be alone. That was the last time he was seen.
His wife, Thadsana Devine, 35, who sought help from authorities, other divers and boat crewmembers were questioned.
An initial investigation showed that the 36-year-old US national got drunk before he vanished early Saturday and nobody saw him fall from the boat. His disappearance prompted his wife, who joined him in the trip to the Similan islands, to seek help from authorities.
A rescue ship and helicopter were dispatched Wednesday to aid the search.
According to the Phuket Gazette, Mr Devine, a civilian IT executive working at a United States military base in Kuwait, and his wife were two of 24 divers on the boat, both Thais and foreigners.
The couple arrived in Phuket Friday afternoon after having spent almost two weeks in Pattaya of Chon Buri.
Phuket Marine Police chief Panya Chaichana earlier told the Gazette that he marked the point of disappearance from the boat, Chontara 1, about 17 nautical miles from Bang Tao beach in Phuket in the Andaman Sea.
Marine police had scoured the area where he went missing but failed to locate him, said Pol Lt Col Panya.
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