Iranian tourist missing from rafting tour in Phang Nga found dead

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The body of a tourist who went missing while on a rafting tour in the southern province of Phang-nga after the inflatable boat, in which he was rafting with four Israeli tourists, capsized in strong currents, was found today (Wednesday), two kilometres away from the spot he was lost.

The discovery of the body followed massive searches yesterday (Tuesday) and this morning.

The boat, which contained the tourists and two oarsmen, was on a rafting tour yesterday when it hit a boulder in the middle of the raging river and capsized. All except one on board were thrown into the water.

Witnesses claim that the 42-year-old Iranian tourist, identified as Bahzadifar Javad Gholamabbas, was seen tied to the boat, which was washed downstream before they could reach him.

The location of the accident is about five kilometres from where the rafting expedition began.

One of the oarsmen recalled that the rapids were very strong and he had told all five tourists to abandon the boat after he saw another boat heading for the bank.

He said he shouted for help from villagers on the banks before the boat hit a boulder and capsized.  The four Israelis were rescued, but the Iranian could not get off the boat as his arm appeared to be entangled in a rope.

About 100 officials, including forest and local officials and employees of rafting services, were mobilised yesterday to search for the missing Iranian, but failed to locate him by the time that the search was suspended as darkness fell.

Some people living in villages along the river conducted their own search on foot last night.


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