NAKHON SI THAMMARAT: Two foreign divers relying on a GPS to guide them back to Phuket took an unplanned plunge when a flash flood swept their vehicle off a back road in Thung Yai district and into a canal on Thursday afternoon.
Both men are diving instructors and one took part in last month’s rescue of 12 young footballers and their coach from flooded Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai.
They were trapped in their vehicle when fast-flowing forest runoff washed it off the road and into rain-swollen Sinpun canal near Nong Wa village in tambon Kulae, Pol Capt Sutham Jermkhwan, a duty officer at Thung Yai police station, said. They scrambled out of the cab and onto the tray as the water rose up level with the windows.
It was some hours before their plight was noticed and police alerted.
About 100 rescue workers, soldiers and local residents rushed to help and laboured for about two hours to pull them and their vehicle, a 4-door pickup truck with Bangkok licence plates, from the canal.
The pair were named in media reports as Seetoh Yiyu, a Singaporean national, 37, and a Danish national identified only as Claus, 45. Diving gear was found in their vehicle.
The Danish diver was a member of the international rescue team at Tham Luang. (continues below)
Rescuers rush to help the two foreigners whose vehicle was swept into a canal by forest runoff in Nakhon Si Thammarat. (Photo by Nujaree Raekrun)
Police said the two men were returning from instructing at a cave diving course in tambon Krungyan of Thung Yai district and were on their way to Phuket. They were using a GPS to guide them. It directed them to a secondary road, by-passing another flooded road, when they were hit by forest runoff .
The two men thanked everyone for helping them, explaining they did not know the way to Phuket and had to rely on the vehicle's GPS. They were not aware there was also forest runoff flooding that road.
Their vehicle was washed into the canal near an oil palm plantation. They managed to get out of the cab and stood on the back with their gear, barely above the floodwater, for several hours before local residents saw them and called police for help
The two divers, a Dane and a Singaporean, flanked by their rescuers. (Photo by Nujaree Raekrun)
video clip by Jae Rodyok Thung Yai (เจ รถยกทุ่งใหญ่) Facebook page.