UPDATE: One of the search teams found Mr Behzadifar’s body on the bank of the stream on Wednesday afternoon.
The Tourist Assistance Centre (TAC), set up by the Ministry of Tourism & Sports, was informed of the incident by the Subdistrict Chief (Kamnan) of Song Phraek, in Phang Nga’s Muang District, at 5:30pm yesterday (Mar 29).
The missing tourist was named as Iranian national Javad Behzadifar, 42.
Mr Behzadifar and his wife arrived in Phuket on Mar 24 and were staying at a hotel in Patong, said the TAC report.
The couple were scheduled to return to Iran on Friday (April 1).
Mr Behzadifar and his wife had joined a rafting trip in Song Phraek Subdistrict, Phang Nga.
The rafting tour on Khlong Ra began at 3pm with five people in the raft, two of them tour staff as rowing personnel.
In the fast current, the raft struck a large rock then a pylon under the Poon Bridge in Moo 8, Tambon Nop Pring, causing the raft to capsize.
While all the other people in the raft were dumped into the water, Mr Behzadifar remained trapped in the upturned raft as he had secured his legs to the raft with rope*, the report said.
The upturned raft remained pinned against the pylon and a large rock as people rushed to help him. They managed to free the raft from the rock, but the fast current quickly swept it downstream.
A search for him quickly ensued. Search teams found the raft, but not Mr Behzadifar.
The search is continuing, the report added.
The TAC is to question “Khun Chet”, owner of Multi Adventure Partnership, which organsied the river rafting tour.
The TAC will also contact the Iranian Embassy to discuss the assistance being provided to his wife.
Col Ekkachai Siri of the Phuket Tourist Police confirmed that his officers are assisting with the search and the investigation.
* Col Ekkachai later confirmed that one of Mr Behzadifar’s feet was caught in the rope the runs along the side of the boat, usually used for carrying the boat and for passengers to hold onto.