BANGKOK – The mother of a 22-year-old Tom Armstrong who failed to return home from Thailand is preparing to fly to Bangkok to look for him herself. Helen Armstrong-Bland is heading to Bangkok to look for her son, Tom Armstrong, who said he would return home on January 8 but never did.
It is believed that university graduate Tom is still in Thailand, possibly in the Bangkok area, and records have shown that money was withdrawn from his bank account in the city last week.
Tom Armstrong, of Suffolk, vanished after taking an eight-month dive master course on the island of Koh Tao, during which time he kept in regular contact with his family.
He was due to return home for Christmas, but Mrs Armstrong-Bland, 46, said he changed his flight to January 8 after ‘running into trouble’ in the Thai capital.
However her son, who lived with his parents and two younger siblings in Kelsale, near Ipswich, did not board the plane and has not made contact since January 6.
Now Mr Armstrong’s distraught family and police are growing increasingly concerned and are appealing for any information that would indicate where he is, and that he is alive and well.
New evidence shows money was withdrawn from his account last week and the police are trying to get hold of CCTV footage to see if the transaction was made by Mr Armstrong.
Meanwhile his increasingly worried mother is preparing to fly out there herself to look for him.
‘He was meant to come home for Christmas and he had sent lots of emails chatting about what he would do when he returned and how he was looking forward to seeing the family.
‘But for some reason he didn’t arrive.’
But they became concerned when they suddenly got an email from him on December 23 saying he had run into trouble in Bangkok.
‘He told us he had tried to get another flight sorted but couldn’t, so he had returned to the island of Koh Tao,’ she said.
‘We were relieved he had made contact but then all communication went quiet again.
‘We rang the dive school to check if Tom was alright and they said he had become very withdrawn and refused to talk to us on the phone.
‘We were extremely worried as it didn’t sound like he was in a very good place.’
On January 3 they had another email from their son saying he had a flight organized for January 8 but once again, he did not turn up.
‘We know he booked the flight but he wasn’t on it,’ said Mrs Armstrong-Bland, who has three other children, Luke, 24, who lives in Japan, George, 18 and Bella, six.
‘The dive school said he left the island on January 2 with all his diving gear, so it looked as though he was going to catch his flight, but it never happened.’
Mr Armstrong’s family has not heard from him since and Suffolk Police has now launched an appeal urging anyone who knows where he is to contact them.
The police have been carrying out extensive inquiries to find him and have been liaising with contacts in Thailand in attempts to trace him.
Mr Armstrong did a Btec engineering course at Durham University and planned to go into the Navy.
But he broke his leg and had to postpone his application, so traveled to Thailand last April to recuperate and do a diving course.
‘He was having a whale of a time and absolutely loving it,’ added Mrs Armstrong-Bland.
‘But he is a home body and I know he was really looking forward to coming home.
‘Tom is a kind, considerate, sensitive person, who often puts others’ needs before his own. He loves the outdoors, nature and in particular water sports and ocean life.
‘We just don’t know what has happened to him, if he is injured or had a breakdown or got in with the wrong crowd.
‘We don’t mind what has gone on, we just want to know he is ok.’
Mrs Armstrong-Bland added: ‘We all really miss him and love him and want him to come home.
‘If Tom is reading this appeal now, I would urge him to get in touch with us or with police and let us know that he is OK.
‘I am planning to fly out there and am waiting for the police to advise me when would be the best date to go. I will go with my husband, my eldest child or my brother.’
Detective Chief Inspector Neil Luckett, of Suffolk Police, said: ‘No contact has been received from Tom for over two weeks now, and despite our efforts so far, we have not been able to locate him.
‘We therefore remain concerned about his welfare and we are urging anyone with information about Tom, in the UK or Thailand, to come forward. – by By Harriet Arkell – Daily Mail Online
If you have any information on Tom Armstrong please contact the British Embassy 14 Wireless Road Lumpini Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand +66 2 305 8333 or or http://www.facebook.com/MissingTomArmstrong