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Family of missing diver head to Phuket to take part in the search

The family of a former Connecticut National Guard Member missing from a diving trip departed from JFK airport on Friday to join the search to try to find him.

missing diver in PhuketJoshua Devine had joined a Liveaboard dive trip along with his Thai wife, in Phuket, on the evening of April 10th . The boat departed bound for the Similan Islands, a popular diving spot only accessible by boat in southern Thailand. The story from then on in becomes very confusing with wild speculation being cast across the international news coverage of this case. Some reports suggest that Josh was having some kind of paranoid traumatic episode and believed that the red lights in his cabin were being used to spy on him, one report suggested he was in an altercation with his wife and other reports suggest he was drinking heavily with friends he had made during the few hours he had spend onboard the vessel. Whatever actually happened what is know is that sometime between 4am and 5am he went missing.

News reports then started to emerge with other equally confusing accounts of events, some suggesting his disappearance was not reported until 10am the following morning and some suggesting the vessel he was traveling on did not even stop to look for him, an idea that dumfounded everybody involved in the dive industry worldwide who found that suggestion preposterous. However this sort of news indeed reached friends and family, one of whom in the early stages wrote on the Facebook page Bring Josh Home Safe “I’m writing this to bring to light a current news worthy situation, that isn’t getting the attention it deserves. My friend, who is a military veteran and current government contractor in Kuwait, has gone missing off the coast of Thailand. He was with a large group, and the conditions surrounding his disappearance are very suspicious. The boat he was on didn’t even stop to search for him, when they realized he went missing. The Thailand authorities only searched one day, and haven’t continued because of Thailand holidays. Even the US Embassy is mostly on holiday. He needs attention, he needs people searching for him. Please help. His name is Joshua Devine. He’s a good man, and he deserves a chance. Time is of the essence, and we need media attention……. I just sent this to my local News Channel. Not sure if they’ll do anything, but worth a try. This is so upsetting, I’m heartbroken about it.

Reports also filtered back to family in the USA from Josh’s wife who said “Hi mom, still working to find somebody to continue searching today call marine police thee say no again they say need the helicopter but they didn’t have have to contact to the army I have try to call them but can’t get through.
So, Once again they do not intend to do anything. No more searches will go out. They are done. So now we need the US to step up and let them know that if they won’t find Josh, we will find Josh. Bring Josh Home Safe
I also want to thank everyone who has donated so far to the Go Fund Me page. I am overwhelmed at how many people have donated. Josh, Jen and myself have so many wonderful friends and family members helping us to get to him and bring him home. I thank you all so very much! heart emoticon”

Josh’s mother also aired her frustrations with not getting the help she needed from the US Embassy on her Facebook page and frustration grew, not only out of concern for the safety of Josh, but at the careless reporting in the press tarnishing the image of the diving industry by suggesting that the boat did not even stop to look.

Yesterday the Mermaids Diving Centre in Pattaya who organized the trip made the following statement on their own Facebook page.

“Mermaids Dive Center
Pattaya, Thailand

16 April 2015

Mermaids Dive Center regrets to announce a passenger went missing on 11 April 2015 at approximately 5 AM while traveling on a vessel that had departed Phuket for the Similan Islands the night before. The vessel is a hired liveaboard dive boat that Mermaids Dive Center contracted, as the Similan Islands is not a regularly scheduled dive location. Although many customers on the vessel were booked through Mermaids Dive Center, some customers booked directly with the liveaboard company. The incident did not occur during a scheduled dive.

Search and rescue operations remain underway, and Mermaids Dive Center sincerely hopes that the missing passenger will soon be reunited with friends and family. Mermaids Dive Center has reached out to the missing passenger’s family, and is deeply concerned with the outcome of the search for the missing passenger, the wellbeing of the missing passenger’s family, and everyone affected by this unfortunate event. Mermaids Dive Center continues to work closely with all regulatory bodies involved in the investigation.

Upon learning that the passenger was missing, members of the dive trip immediately searched the vessel, and failing to locate the missing passenger, the vessel backtracked to the area the missing passenger was last seen. The dive boat then conducted an ocean search for the missing passenger in a logical, planned manner using large spotlights while many members of the dive trip assisted with torches. At the same time the boat captain started initiating radio contact with the Royal Thai Navy, Royal Thai Police, rescue services, as well as other vessels in the area. The location was not within cellular coverage.

Rescue services personnel arrived at the dive boat at approximately 10 AM after successful contact by the dive boat at approximately 6:30 AM. The dive boat continued searching the area until the Royal Thai Police arrived at approximately 1:30 PM. The Royal Thai Police took control of the incident after initial interviews with the boat crew and some passengers were completed. The missing passenger’s spouse left the dive boat with the Royal Thai Police and the dive boat departed from the search area at approximately 3 PM. At approximately 10:30 AM Mermaids Dive Center contacted the US Embassy to report the incident and provided all available information.

As the incident is currently under investigation, Mermaids Dive Center will be unable to offer further comments at this time. Mermaids Dive Center will respect all comments posted in response to this announcement. Emails may be sent to dive@mermaidsdivecenter.com.”

What is known is that Josh had used this company many times and it has a good reputation in Thailand. It is unclear where the stories contradicting this account came from and Josh is yet to be found.

 

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