Search continues this morning for missing Russian girl at Koh Tao

Thai authorities started the search of the missing Russian female tourist and diver Ms Valentina Novozhenova for the fifth consecutive day this morning after she went missing from her hotel room on February 15.

The search, both on shore and in the air was taken part by over a hundred of local officials, volunteers, air force rescue planes, and both Thai and foreign divers and instructors.

But by noon today, the search team could not yet locate her.

The search was put off from yesterday to this morning after the head Inspector of the Koh Tao police station, Pol. Lt. Chokechai Sutthimek, called a meeting with volunteers, divers both Thais and foreigners yesterday afternoon, along with a team of 20 Russian divers to plan the underwater search for the missing Russian tourist.

Authorities suspected that she might have gone diving when something went wrong, which could be an accident or she could have gone kost near the underwater area in Chaloak bay.

The meeting concluded that the search should be moved to this morning at 6 am, as a lot of time was needed to fill up the oxygen tanks as much as possible for the divers to carry out longer searches this afternoon.

Meanwhile Surat Thani governor has reiterated to all concerned agencies to carry out searches on the water surface, land, and underwater, as well as to bring in modern technology to help with the search.

He also laid out a plan to construct an observation tower with round-the-clock surveillance to ensure better safety for visitors.

He further asked for cooperation from lodging entrepreneurs in keeping track of the checking-in and checking-out of their guests each day.

Ms Valentina Novozhenova, 23, had traveled to Koh Tao since February 11 and checked in at the Koh Tao Hostel.

The last time she was seen was on February 15 and no one had seen or was able to get in contact with her ever since.

All her belongings have been found at the hostel two weeks later. When authorities inspected the room again, they had found that the diving equipment and a blue towel belonging to missing victim were missing, leading them to start a search at diving spots.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

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