An officer from the Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command in Phang Nga told The Phuket News today, “We were not able to find Mr Stashkov yesterday (Nov 3), and so we issued an order to rescue teams and Marine Police in Phanga Nga to continue their search for the missing Russian today.
“In addition to the rescue teams and Marine Police, the Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command also sent out the Tor229 navy vessel to assist with the search. Local fishing vessels and tourist boats have also been helping,” said the official, who declined to be named.
Meanwhile, The Phuket News yesterday received a first-hand account of Mr Stashkov’s disappearance from Mikhail Kolmogorov, the captain of the yacht Revolution, from which Mr Stashkov disappeared.
Mr Kolmogorov explained that Revolution left Chalong Pier last Saturday night (Oct 29), and by early Sunday morning had reached the Similan Islands.
Together, Mr Stashkov and Mr Kolmogorov moored Revolution close to a small island, about 1 mile to the East from Koh Payan.
Mr Kolmogorov told The Phuket News how he was tired after making the journey so went for a lie down. Mr Stashkov told him that he would be going for a swim.
“I was on watch during the last leg of voyage and so I went down below to rest. I was half asleep when I heard Alexey calling for help,” Mr Kolmogorov said.
By the time Mr Kolmogorov had reached the deck Mr Stashkov was far from the boat and caught in a rip tide.
Mr Kolmogorov untied Revolution’s dinghy and sent it afloat with the rip, hoping Mr Stashkov would be able to grab it.
Mr Kolmogorov then tried to move the yacht closer to Mr Satshkov, but was delayed as he had to cut the mooring line which had become stuck under the boat.
“Upon reaching the dinghy I discovered that Alexey was not inside the dinghy or anywhere in the vicinity,” he said.
Stressed and stunned, Mr Kolmogorov made contact with some friends in Phuket and also abroad to alert them about what had happened and proceeded to search for Alexey himself.
“I now realise that maybe I should have also sent a Mayday signal by radio,” he added.
Mr Kolmogorov went on to say that the area where Mr Stashkov disappeared is absolutely desolate and that no tour boats went to the area, he also said that the main island of the Similan group was too far away for help to come quickly so he continued to search by himself.
“After two days of searching I stopped my efforts and proceeded to the central island in the Similan Archipelago. But it wasn’t until Nov 1 that a navy vessel arrived and I was questioned by officials,” Mr Kolmogorov concluded.
Additional reporting by Anton Makhrov