Diving drama: French foursome rescued from island ordealLegacy

Four French divers, who found themselves stranded overnight on an island off Sattahip in Chon Buri, were successfully rescued yesterday. Their vessel had unexpectedly become detached from its mooring and drifted away while they were diving near Koh Manwichai.

The divers, identified as 38 year old Andrien, 47 year old Medhi, 30 year old Vincent, aged 30, and 32 year old Stefan, had hired a boat from Jomtien Beach on Wednesday, May 1. Alarmingly, the rented vessel was spotted floating unmanned off Koh Sichang yesterday.

Concerns about the divers’ whereabouts were heightened when a Facebook user Tai Ek, shared an image of the unmanned boat with a plea for help. Tai Ek’s post read: “Friends, please help share. This boat left Na Jomtien beach about 7-8am today and has not yet returned to shore. Four people who went with the boat could not be reached. Anyone who finds them, kindly please contact me.”

The vessel was later discovered approximately 11 nautical miles off Koh Sichang in the Sri Racha district of Chon Buri. This discovery led the tourist police and rescue workers to initiate an immediate search operation.

The four French nationals were eventually located on Manwichai Island, approximately 15 nautical miles offshore from tambon Bang Saray in the Sattahip district. They were safely transported to Bang Saray beach around noon, with no injuries reported.

Upon debriefing, the group explained to Pattaya Tourist Police that they had anchored their boat at Koh Manwichai for a dive on Wednesday. Upon resurfacing, they found their boat had drifted away, leaving them stranded on the island overnight. They were only able to signal for help when they spotted a rescue boat yesterday morning.

In related news, the Thai army picked up 16 Burmese refugees who were left stranded on a desert island off the coast of Ranong province, southern Thailand, for three days and two nights. The group came to the island from Myanmar by boat and was told to wait for another boat to take them across to the mainland. However, the boat they were promised never came.

Laem Som National Park officials this morning discovered 16 Burmese refugees stranded on Koh Kam Nui, an uninhabited island in the Andaman Sea off the coast of  Ranong province. The Thai army was called in to assist.

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Author: Bob Scott