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US rescuers prepare for retrieval of Thai students’ bodies from river

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rooster59    2,114

US rescuers prepare for retrieval of Thai students’ bodies from river

By MARISA CHIMPRABHA 
THE NATION

 

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A US military Chinook helicopter on Thursday surveyed the Kings River area in Fresno, California, where the bodies of two Thai students are believed to be trapped in a partially submerged car.


The survey of the mountainous region was to determine the possibility of the Chinook lifting the vehicle, which is jammed in rocks in the middle of the fast-flowing river, the Thai Consulate General Office in Los Angeles posted on Facebook yesterday.

 

“The survey by the chopper, which is big enough to lift a car, is being held to know if it is safe for the chopper to fly in the area that is surrounded by deep cliffs,” the consulate said.

 

The Fresno County’s Sheriff Office meanwhile reported that the Chinook captured new photos of the site that were later shared in a meeting with Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims, members of the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue (SAR) team and military personnel, to discuss potential plans to recover the bodies from the river. 

 

The Consulate reported that Consul-General Tanee Sangrat has had two telephone conversations with Nathan Magsig, the mayor of Clovis in Fresno, California.

 

Magsig reiterated that the recovery and safety of the rescue team is a top priority.

 

He said the rescue team had expressed concerns that the bodies could possibly be swept away by the strong river currents and the car could break apart if it is lifted into the air.

 

It has been more than two weeks since the accident in the Fresno County involving Thai students Thiwadee Saengsuriyarit, 24, and Bhakapon Chairattanasongporn, 28, both postgraduate students at South Florida University. 

 

They were heading to Kings Canyon National Park on July 26 when their car ran apparently veered off a highway and fell over a 150-metre cliff into Kings River.

 

Sheriff blames bad weather

 

The sheriff’s office has been criticised for the delay in retrieving the bodies of the students and the car that was found partially submerged in Kings River about two weeks ago.

 

The sheriff’s office has said bad weather, strong river currents and geographical difficulties have prevented it from mounting a safe retrieval mission. 

 

Protests are planned in Fresno County and Los Angeles, by the Thai American Community today as frustration mounts at the slow progress of the operation. Organisers have said they would proceed with the protests if the retrieval mission did not start today. Sheriff’s Office spokesman Tony Botti yesterday dismissed criticism that it delayed recovering the bodies because the victims were Asians, not Americans. His office prides itself on professionalism, he said.

 

“We value every human life, whether they are an American citizen or not. We are working hard to bring peace to the victims’ loved ones in Thailand. We ask for their patience during this delicate recovery process.” Botti said. He was responding to queries sent by The Nation to his office’s Facebook page.

 

The office reiterated on its Facebook page that recovering the bodies is a top priority, but the safety of its personnel is also a primary concern. “A date when this [the rescue] will happen is still to be determined,” the office said.

 

On Wednesday, the families of the victims and members of the Thai Consulate in Los Angeles met with county leaders in southern California.

 

Mims sent a written statement to the families, saying: “I would like family members to know that recovering their loved ones is a top priority at my office right now.

 

“The Fresno County Sheriff Search and Rescue team has a lot of experience and is currently working to develop a plan that is safest for them to effectively do their jobs.

 

“I realise this is a difficult situation and want you to know that our goal is to recover your family members in a respectful manner as soon as an opportunity presents itself. We appreciate your patience and understanding.”

 

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30323566

 

 
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-- © Copyright The Nation 2017-08-12

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sweatalot    4,343
Posted (edited)

Hopefully the officials will not give in to  irrational pressure by deluded people. 

 

".... Protests are planned in Fresno County and Los Angeles, by the Thai American Community today as frustration mounts at the slow progress of the operation. "

 

I hope they are protesting against the weather conditions - otherwise I couldn't believe of them being in their right mind. But protesting against weather ?  .... anyway

Edited by sweatalot
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wakeupplease    1,633

That armco barrier was hit with one hell of a crack which means speed. The barrier is design to push vehicles along it and keep them safe not go straight over as it looks like it did. Drugs, Drink or Stupidity, you choose which.

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oldgent    409

that is one serious fast flowing river having viewed the video im wondering if the bodies are in the car

my thoughts are with the families

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oby    171
11 hours ago, khounteen said:

Send in a team of thai recovery squad to show them how it is done in thailand.

a troop of thai girl scouts would have rappelled down and applied first aid possibly saving the 2 girls within hours.

 2017 is beyond belief a tragedy such as this has gone from rescue to recovery and weeks later is still not accomplished.

 

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Nowisee    709

They're dead.  What's the rush?  Why put good rescue workers at risk?  
Chill out and when it's safe they recover the bodies...if they're even still in the car.
 

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