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French expat, 78, rescued off Phuket

A French expat on a dinghy has been rescued near Ao Yon, Wichit, yesterday while the Phuket Marine Office has announced that jet-skis and parasails will remain beached.


Maj Eakkachai Siri of the Phuket Tourist Police was notified yesterday that Claude Gasca, 78, had been rescued off the coast of Cape Panwa.

Eakkachai said: “Mr Gasca disappeared after he took off from Chalong pier on a dinghy on Monday [June 18] night heading to his sailboat Striana, which was moored off Ao Yon.

“Yesterday his Thai wife, Montatip Tongkhao, said she was unable to contact him. So she called the police. The search was launched by the Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command.

“At 5.30pm yesterday, we were notified that Gasca had been found safe by a friend and taken back to Chalong. He was taken to the Mission Hospital as he was very weak.

“Gasca told us that after he had retired, he lived in Phuket with his Thai wife. Every day he travels in his dinghy to his sailboat. On Monday night there were very strong winds and waves. The dinghy was washed ashore and got stuck in a mangrove forest.

“His friend, who was on another boat, rescued him. His mobile phone was wet so he could not contact his wife.”

The chief of the Phuket Marine Office has ordered the authorities and boat operators to be careful at sea.

However, some jet-ski and parasail operators were still running during the storms. The Phuket Maine Office has announced a ban of jet-skis and parasails until today.

“Legal action will be taken against anyone who breaks the law,” said the chief.

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