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One dead in ‘Phoenix’ salvage operation

One dead in ‘Phoenix’ salvage operation

PHUKET: It has been confirmed today that one person died on Saturday during the operation to salvage the ‘Phoenix’ tour boat which sank on July 5 killing 47 Chinese tourists.

By The Phuket News

Tuesday 2 October 2018, 01:07PM

Divers are seen here at the site of the sunken ’Phoenix’ tour boat in August. Photo: PR Dept

Divers are seen here at the site of the sunken ’Phoenix’ tour boat in August. Photo: PR Dept

Phuket Public Relations Department Chief Bussaya Chaipeum issued a statement this morning (Oct 2) stating that Niphat ‘Joch’ Kludnak, 37, an employee of Spitz Tech Co Ltd died at 12;30pm on Saturday (Sept 29) at the site where the sunken Phoenix lies on the seabed.

Mr Niphat had been involved in the salvage mission since it began in August.

According to the statement issued by Ms Bussaya, Mr Niphat was on the rear of a vessel being used in the salvage operation when he fainted and fell into the sea.

Mr Niphat was recovered unconscious from the water and was quickly taken to Vachira Phuket Hospital in Phuket Town where he was later pronounced dead.

The body of Mr Niphat has since taken to his home province if Chumphon where funeral rites are underway at Wat Chonlathi Phuesaram.

The statement concluded by saying that the salvage operation will resume on Thursday (Oct 4) or Friday (Oct 5) depending on weather conditions.

It is planned that the boat will be dragged to an area where the water depth will be around 25 metres where the boat will then be raised to the surface. Once on the surface the boat will then be dragged to the Tha Chin canal.

On Sept 24, the Chief of the Phuket Marine Office confirmed that the plan to raise the sunken tour boat Phoenix was to be fully revised after one of the tethers broke while the salvage operators were trying to move the boat underwater – but not actually raise it.


The news to temporarily scrap the plan to raise the Phoenix was revealed by Wiwat Chitchertwong, who is currently the Acting Director of the Phuket Marine Office. (See story here.)

On Aug 5, the Director-General of the Marine Department, Jirut Wisanjit, announced that the major operation to raise the sunken tour boat Phoenix off the seabed would be carried out that week.

Speaking at the Phuket Deep Sea Port , Mr Jirut said that plans to raise the Phoenix, which lied at a depth of 45m some 1.5 nautical miles off Koh Hei (Coral Island), were underway after the owner failed to organise its own efforts. (See story here.)

After weeks of preparations, a team of salvage operators on Aug 14 said they hoped to complete the recovery of the Phoenix tour boat, which sank in a storm squall of Koh Hei (Coral Island) on July 5. (See story here.)

However, on Aug 16, Mr Wiwat told The Phuket News that strong winds and large waves have continued to delay the refloating of the sunken tour boat Phoenix.

“All the equipment and tethers have been attached, but some of them still need to be positioned in the place so the boat can be safely raised to the surface,” he said. (See story here.)

Then on Aug 30, Mr Wiwat said that preparations were continuing to raise the Phoenix, but that he did not expect any effort to refloat the boat to be carried out for another week. (See story here.)

On Sept 21, it was confirmed by Ms Bussaya that preparations to raise the Phoenix were now in the final stages. (See story here.)

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DeKaaskopp | 16 October 2018 - 22:08:49

Jor,as the saying goes: The wiser head gives in ! Better to allow R2 to have the final words or he will never come to rest.Seen to many times already.

Rorri_2 | 16 October 2018 - 16:09:15

"There is no need for idiots on here to surmise what occured," and you keep commenting... I suggest the family doesn't read this blog, so stop trying to make us feel bad, in fact, you create most of the issues. Thailand does not need you to "protect" them, I'm sure some officials read this, but can't deny what we say.

Jor12 | 16 October 2018 - 12:42:05

Then let the family deal with their loss. There is no need for idiots on here to surmise what occured.  Again you still putting forward your  silly comment about the company being negligent, when you have no facts whosoever. If you don't like it then too bad.

Kurt | 16 October 2018 - 10:42:53

But now next! When they lift the Phoenix? Weather conditions are ok.

Timothy | 16 October 2018 - 08:01:00

What disrespect? This guy's family should know the real truth about why their son/father/brother died. Not just that he fainted and died. If he died due to negligence or poor equipment. The company should be liable. BTW your comments are usually the most disrespectful on this forum so don't get all righteous now...

Rorri_2 | 16 October 2018 - 06:07:38

"Bugger the deceased, his family relatives and friends, but is typical of the disrespect for the dead on here by commentators," someone has seriously "lost the plot" first saying a report of lack of oxygen, can also be drowning, when all reports of drowning state drowning, also seems to forget he to makes "disrespectful" comments, simply by commenting. Hypocrite!

Jor12 | 15 October 2018 - 16:41:36

More conjecture. Gotta love all the pathologists on here...lack of oxygen/drowning/ heart stopped...incredible.  He could have died from a pre-existing medical condition even before he hit the water! Bugger the deceased, his family relatives and friends, but is typical of the disrespect for the dead on here by commentators.

Christy Sweet | 15 October 2018 - 14:27:13

The simple explanation  is there was  insufficient oxygen  contained in the tank. Big problem when you have lazy morons in charge of filling tanks. In fact, during the Tham Luang rescue,  the British rescuers insisted that US Special Forces be in   charge of filling tanks- not something to take a chance on.  

Timothy | 14 October 2018 - 08:43:06

Strange that the cause of death was lack of oxygen and not drowning. If he simply fainted then fell into the water he would have breathed in the water which would have been the cause of death. So as Ben says, no facts lots of conjecture. 

Jor12 | 14 October 2018 - 00:33:35

haha...yeah there is a lack of oxygen when your lungs fill with water unless you're a fish. But why did he faint... if at all?  No autopsy report yet. Conjecture by some who say he didn't faint. Wake up.

BenPendejo | 13 October 2018 - 18:40:12

So, according to officials, the cause of death was lack of oxygen...brilliant. A secondary cause was also identified as "heart stopped beating...and a third cause, 'He stopped breathing".  They were still investigating whether "his brain stopped functioning".

Rorri_2 | 13 October 2018 - 05:49:28

"Where is the autopsy report?" read the report, it was a lack of oxygen, keep up with the news.

Jor12 | 12 October 2018 - 16:09:29

Where are the facts of this man's medical history? Where is the autopsy report? What had he doing/eaten/drunk 24 hours before he fell? What was he doing and why? These are the types of factual questions one should ask rather than say (as a fact) that he did not faint.  That is pure conjecture. To say "saving face" - is not fact, but again, pure conjecture.

BenPendejo | 04 October 2018 - 18:55:53

Conjecture is what arises when facts are not available...and I haven't read where anyone below stated their opinions as fact...the exception being that Thais would rather save face than be be honest and take responsibility for their actions...that is fact.  So, it seems perfectly plausible that a healthy youngish man faints and falls in...but nobody sees it?  Sounds plenty fishy to me.

Jor12 | 04 October 2018 - 11:16:48

Conjecture is a poor excuse for facts.

BenPendejo | 04 October 2018 - 09:23:48

Well Jor, I certainly don't know, but I don't believe he just went kaput and kersplash. If someone saw him faint and fall, they could have got right to him. If they found him later, then they don't know he fainted.  It's just an instant Thai response to point the finger at the victim, and make sure that no wrongdoing is divulged or accounted for.

CaptainJack | 03 October 2018 - 12:02:45

Why are these reports always so vague?  He just fainted and fell off the boat? It's just asking for people to be sceptical (especially here apparently). Now if he was a diver that could easily be caused by decompression sickness. Better to say that and avoid the nay sayers. I guess here things just have to be secret.

Wiesel | 03 October 2018 - 09:30:54

They should ask Kurt how to do because he knows everything ;-)

Jor12 | 02 October 2018 - 23:19:18

If your believe was that he did not faint before falling into the water, how then did he die?

BenPendejo | 02 October 2018 - 15:32:37

Hmmm...sorry to hear a life was lost, and pardon my cynicism, but I don't believe he fainted and died. I just don't believe much any more, as locals continuously prove that saving face is more important than honesty. And yes...this is a complete fiasco.  I'm guessing that Spitz Tech Co Ltd has as much salvage experience as Laikham does with lifeguarding...none...just a lucrative contra...

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