Boat sinks off Phuket, six still missing

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zahgurim

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In the news clipping posted above, the captain stated that they were hit by a vortex of "red wind".

What's red wind? When I hear vortex, I think of a waterspout.
 

MoonWrasse

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In the news clipping posted above, the captain stated that they were hit by a vortex of "red wind".

What's red wind? When I hear vortex, I think of a waterspout.

A mistranslation from Thai.

I've seen waterspouts this time of year around Phuket - once there were several near the boat at the end of the dive, while the sky was clear on descent.

These boats don't have much of a keel, so 2 meter swells can get scary.
 

TimA

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the captain stated that they were hit by a vortex of "red wind".

I've spent my whole life at sea and I've never heard that term before.
More than likely IMHO they were hit by a "Sumatra like" thunderstorm which can include waterspouts.

What are Sumatras?
Sumatras are lines of thunderstorms which usually occur between March and November each year. These squalls (lines of thunderstorms) develop at night over Sumatra or the Malacca Straits and move east towards Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia usually during the pre-dawn and early morning. They are often characterised by sudden onset of strong gusty surface winds and heavy rain lasting from 1 to 2 hours as they move across the island. Maximum gusts of up to 50 knots have been recorded during the passage of a Sumatra squall (Gusts are temporary rise in wind speed).


Their more likely to occur at the convergence of the Andaman Sea with the main body of the Indian Ocean at the tip of Sumatra therefore the name Sumatras. I was locked into one steering violently for 4 or 5 hours one time and all they do is spin you around. There is no set swell direction to adjust to. They are nasty wicked little micro storms. A double decker boat like the style of boats (fairweather boats) used for diving in Thailand where they draw very little water, are often short of beam, and have high centers of gravity are an accident waiting to happen.
 

Bowmouth

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Here's the latest from the Phuket Gazette:

Four bodies found in sunken dive boat

PHUKET: The Phuket branch of the Department of Disaster Prevention & Mitigation (DDPM-Phuket) confirmed this afternoon that the bodies of four more victims from the dive boat Choke Somboon 19 have been discovered inside the sunken vessel.

Deep sea divers have been working with Marine Police since first light this morning to reach the sunken vessel, which lies 70 meters below the surface, to confirm that it is in fact the same vessel that capsized during a freak storm on Sunday night.

The Choke Somboon 19 was carrying 30 people, 23 of whom were rescued on Monday, leaving seven people missing.

The Gazette was told that the four victims were discovered at 3.30pm in two separate sleeping quarters – two bodies in each cabin – and have been identified by Marine Police as Swiss nationals Mr Klaus Konradder and Ms Monika Schuster, and Austrian nationals Ms Sibylle Bucher and Mr Rolf Niederberge.

The body of Austrian national Gabrielle Jetzinger was found yesterday, floating in the area where the vessel sank, leaving Thai national Ms Jumpa “Gen” Sorntat – the boat’s cook and Japanese national Mr Yuba Hirotsuga still unaccounted for.
 

TimA

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All very sad! For those who lost their lives may they R.I.P.

Your so very right...very sad!

What we anticipate seldom occurs; what we least expected generally happens.

R.I.P
 

mislav

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Here's the report by one of the survivors:

...I am the Australian survivor from the Dive Asia liveaboard boat sinking last Sunday night - Michael Sampson.

I gave a TV interview to NBT news when we got back to land, but since then I have not spoken further to the press. PhuketWan.com seems to be reporting things reasonably accurately and comprehensibly - they are currently trying to make contact with me.

It was definitely a small concentrated storm but I don't know anything about a vortex - just very strong wing and rain with lots of thunder and lightning. The rain stopped about 15-20 minutes after the boat went down.

I was in a a cabin on the starboard side of the lower deck (with a small strong porthole) and had been in my bed about 10 minutes when the boat went over. I reckon the boat went on its side in about 10 seconds. I tried to get out of my bed but fell against the wall (which was by then the floor). Then I climbed out through my cabin door and scrambled along the wall of the passageway. I climbed up the the stairwell but the steps were pointed the wrong way, so I shimmied up to about shoulder height and got to the middle deck. I was then able to walk along the wall of the middle deck walkway and out the dive deck into the water.

The rain was driven so hard by the wind that each raindrop stung the skin. There was lightning every 10 seconds or so which enabled us to see what was going on around us. I clung to a mattress from the sundeck for a few minutes but then I spotted a liferaft canister and grabbed hold of some webbing on it. After about 2 minutes the boat capsized completely (hull up) and after another 2 or so minutes it sank.

We inflated two liferafts (each rated for 20 people) with 10 in mine and 13 in the other. We lashed the two liferafts together immediately. We could see the flashing lights of two life preserver rings away off in the distance, and one of the dive masters Christian just jumped off the liferaft and swam out them. He brought back four people to the liferafts, and he is a true hero. I think he saved those four peoples' lives.

The night in the liferaft was cold and uncomfortable. We let off a flair when we saw a sailing boat in the distance but it didn't come to us. We could see lights on the coast and we thought that we would see planty of boats in the morning. When the sun came up there were no boats at all - we could see Patong and Karon in the distance but otherwise it was just empty sea. As the day wore on it started getting really hot and we only had about 2 litres of water for 23 people. Eventually we spotted a boat in the distance and flashed it with the mirror from the survival kit. The fishing boat came to us at about 1:00 PM and immediately offered us fresh water and food. The Dive Asia guys used the fishing boat captain's mobile phone to call the Dive Asia office, who then contacted the Navy. A Marine Police patrol boat came to get us about one and a half hours later. The Marine Police also gave us water and food.

Most of the people who died were on the starboard side on the middle deck where they have nice big windows to look out. The boat rolled onto its starboard side and another survivor told me that the windows burst and it flooded those cabins (she survived by taking a breath of air trapped inside her cupboard and swimming out the window).

I'll conclude by saying that Dive Asia is a very professional outfit. It was a new boat, well-maintained and seaworthy. The dive staff in particular were tremendous throughout the ordeal and I will dive with them again.

\Mike

The dive master Christian mentioned in the story is actually one of Dive Asia full time instructors. He's a great guy, very friendly, always willing to help, very professional in what he does. I am not surprised to hear Mike call him the hero.
 
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