Rough seas challenge search for Polish man, Thai woman

Rough seas challenge search for Polish man, Thai woman

Rescuers go to the Andaman Sea in a rubber boat in Phuket province on Monday to search for a Polish tourist and a Thai woman who went kayaking and have not returned since Saturday. (Photo by Achadtaya Chuenniran)
Rescuers go to the Andaman Sea in a rubber boat in Phuket province on Monday to search for a Polish tourist and a Thai woman who went kayaking and have not returned since Saturday. (Photo by Achadtaya Chuenniran)

PHUKET: High waves have obstructed the search for a Polish tourist and a Thai woman who went missing while kayaking off a beach on this resort island.

Deputy provincial governor Supoj Rodmuang updated the progress of the mission on Monday. He said rough seas were posing a problem for rescuers as their search for Mateusz Juszkiewicz, 27, and Veerakan Sirivipakorn, 23, entered its third day.

The two did not return to Yanui beach in Muang district after going out with a kayak on Saturday evening.

Officials from the navy, Marine Department, police units and tambon administration organisations began their search on the same day, deploying boats, planes and helicopters. They have covered 400 of the planned 600 square miles off the island but still have not found the pair and would expand the search area if necessary.

"We won't give up hopes. We'll do whatever we can to find them," the deputy governor said.

The Meteorological Department warned small boats on the Andaman Coast not to leave the shores due to big waves.

Given the direction of the wind, RAdm Chanchaiyos Attasuvee, the deputy commander of the Royal Thai Navy Region 3, said the two and their kayak might have drifted to a neighbouring country, indicating Myanmar.

Chudarasa, the mother of the missing Thai, travelled from Tak Fa district of Nakhon Sawan to Phuket to wait for her daughter after being told she was missing.

She said Ms Veerakan worked as a nanny for foreign children at a nursery after graduation. "I'll wait here till I meet her," the mother said.

Authorities have not pressed charges on anyone, including Somchai Cheupoo, who operates a kayak renting business for tourists on the beach. He has 23 kayaks and charges 100 baht per hour per person.

The case is a first that involves kayaks. Mr Supoj said there was no law or measure to regulate their use  and ensure holidaymakers' safety.


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