KOH SAMET RESCUEDutch team on trail of missing tourist
Canine squad set to sniff for clues
Bangkok Post, january 20
Five Dutch sniffer dogs arrived yesterday to
begin their search for Anthony Zunnebeld, a Dutch national who went missing on
Koh Samet on Jan 5.
Enjoying a little snack and recovering from
their 12-hour flight, the dog squad were ready to sniff for traces of the
missing man. Rebecca, Buddy, Power, Lady and Bart, all from Rescue Dog
Westervoort, a non-profit organisation based in the Netherlands, would
immediately begin their search in Koh Samet, where Mr Zunnebeld was holidaying
with his wife.
The search will be supervised by local police. The famous Dutch canine rescue squad, a standby team for the World Trade Center rescue operation, was requested by Mr Zunnebeld's relatives to help Thai police search for the missing man, said Dutch embassy official Jan Kulpers.
``These dogs never let me down,'' said Louise Smits, superintendent of the squad. She was especially proud of Rebecca, whom she trained, for her performance in the collapsed bridge incident in Portugal last year. Rebecca led rescuers to locate 67 bodies under the bridge.
Rebecca is the most experienced of the five dogs while Buddy is the newest. This is Buddy's first rescue effort after two and a half years of training.
The squad would also be joined by a marine search expert who would determine where to focus the sea search.
But local police believe the body would have surfaced if the man drowned or was killed in the water. A 30-member search party searched the whole island and nearby islets and found no sign of the man. Some locals reportedly said Mr Zunnebeld left the island for Bangkok.
Pol Col Paitoon Palakarn, commander of Phe police station, said police did everything they could and would be happy to support the team.
|Search dog Rebecca (white coat) is led on a leash by Louise Smiths, her trainer, from Don Muang airport. Lady, face partially hidden, Bart , and Buddy will also help in the search for a missing Dutchman. A fifth dog brought from the Netherlands, Power, is not in the picture. - Pattanapong Hirunard|
KOH SAMET RESCUESniffer dogs fail to find missing tourist after two days of search
|Dutch volunteers and their sniffer dogs scour a beach on Koh Samet on their second day of searching for missing Dutch tourist Anthony Zunnebeld. _ PORPOT CHANGYAWA|
Porpot Changyawa - Rayong
Bangkok Post, january 22
Missing Dutchman Anthony Zunnebeld is believed
to be still alive although a canine squad from the Netherlands has had no luck
in two days of searching for him on Samet island.
After a discussion with Thai police and national park officers, the Rescue Dogs Westervoort has decided to go on a night search for Mr Zunnebeld, who has been missing for two weeks.
A couple of entrepreneurs on the island reported to the search team yesterday that they saw a man looking like Mr Zunnebeld on Saturday night.
``The man was sitting just behind me on the beach,'' said a resort manageress on Sai Kaew beach.
``This clue has given the search team more focus of where and when to search,'' said Songtham Suksawang, chief of Khao Laem Ya-Koh Samet national park who joined the search yesterday.
Mr Zunnebeld was believed to have suffered from severe stress, and the search team thought he might be hiding from other people during daytime and coming out to wander around only at night.
``We are glad to have received some more news. It has given the team and the family more hope, though we understand that the chance of finding him is still 50-50,'' said Jan Kuipers, police liaison officer of the Netherlands embassy.
One of the areas of focus would be around Wat Koh Kaew at the island's northern tip.
During the past two days, the five rescue dogs worked from 7am until late evening combing the beach, the forest, some resorts and a temple.
One handler said his dog, Lady, was doing better than he had thought in this hot weather. ``These dogs are at their prime for an operation like this,'' he said.
The night operation would not hamper the dogs' performance as they had been trained to work in all conditions, said Mr Kuipers. The night could even help cool them down while working.
The team also planned a sea search around the island.
Meanwhile, Pol Gen Amnuay Phetsiri, deputy police chief, said he was convinced Mr Zunnebeld was still alive because police did not find any clues to believe otherwise.
KOH SAMET RESCUEWife under stress as no sign of Dutchman
Idyllic holiday turns into a nightmare
Bangkok Post, january 23
A three-week stay on Samet Island, the
destination planned for pure relaxation after a year's hard work, has turned
into a nightmare for Judith Kuper.
Those three weeks would have been heavenly had the trip gone as planned with her husband. But two days after they arrived, the holiday turned into a nightmare with the disappearance of her husband who, after two weeks, has still not been found.
So far, a search of the island by a team of Thai police and the Dutch Rescue Dogs Westervoort, has failed to uncover any clue as to what has happened to her husband.
Anthony Zunnebeld, Mrs Kuper's husband of seven years and a companion for 18 years, left their bungalow on Ao Phai, Samet Island, for breakfast. He never returned.
Since then, Mrs Kuper has been unable to stop blaming herself for failing to read the signs. ``I know he had been very stressed with his work as a chef and owner of a restuarant in his hometown, Zwolle. I never thought it would turn out this way.''
Mr Zunnebeld's relatives and Mrs Kuper share the view that a healthy man like him having a breakdown and going missing was most unlikely.
Relatives and his mother remain deeply concerned. ``I have been receiving more than 25 emails a day asking for updates on the search,'' said Mrs Kuper.
On the request of family and friends, and the financing of an insurance company, an experienced search and rescue team was flown in from the Netherlands to join the Thai police in the search operation.
With the search going on at full steam, from dawn till dusk, from night search to sea search, Mrs Kuper's mind has remained restless.
``I am overwhelmed with mixed feelings. My mind wanders when the team goes on the search because all possibilities are open.
``My greatest fear is that they run into clues that say he is no longer alive,'' she said.
The police and national park officers who have been on the search for several days by themselves and with the rescue dogs, said this case was very strange.
``There is almost no sign of what might have happened to him,'' one member of the search team said.
IN BRIEFDog search off
Bangkok Post, januari 26
The family of a missing Dutchman has offered a
reward for information, after a four-day search by sniffer dogs turned up
Mario Betting, police liaison officer at the Netherlands embassy, said the family of Anthony Zunnebeld offered a reward of 100,000 baht for information leading them to their son.
People with information could contact Ban Phae police.