AFTER searching all day and late into the night rescuers and divers in Chiang Mai had not found a Belgian man who fell off a rubber dinghy while rafting in Mae Taeng river with two fellow countrymen and a guide yesterday afternoon with the search continuing today (July 23), Sanook.com and Matichon newspaper said.
However the rescue team did find a broken helmet and a lifejacket two kilometres from the site of the accident late last night.
The missing tourist, identified as Mr. Nicolas Hinckxt, 30, and two other Belgian tourists were picked up from Sirinual Villa Nimman Hotel at 10 a.m. by Siam River Adventures Company’s guide Mr. Panya Noibutr, 30. All had been insured with Dhipaya Insurance Company for 1 million baht each in the event of death.
At 2 p.m. yesterday while rafting in Mae Taeng River’s Kaeng Kut area in strong currents and heavy rain the dinghy crashed into a rocky outcrop causing Hinckxt to fall off but was still floating with his lifejacket on not far from the dinghy but he did not swim towards it.
When the dinghy had moved 30 metres away the guide threw a rope towards him but he did not catch it before disappearing in the turbulent river.
Subdistrict Administrative Organisation officials and villagers searched but failed to find him. Later rescuers from Kusolsongkhor Chiang Mai Charity Rescue Organisation and a dive team from Region 5 Police joined the search.
The rescuers believe that the tourist was swept away from the spot he fell into the river and while searching for him late into the night, the driving rain and fear of flash flood led to their halting the operation. However this was to resume today.
Rescuers searching for the missing Belgian tourist at Mae Taeng river. Photos: First below, Matichon, others: Sanook.com