A group of Eurpean expats going for a sunset dip on a famed Thai party island made an unexpected find yesterday: a malodorous corpse floating in the blue gulf waters.
Briton Jamie Wrate described to Coconuts Bangkok today how he and four friends spotted “something big” bobbing in the ocean while they were swimming at about 6:30pm off the shore of Koh Phangan, that turned out to be the body of a man, which police have yet to identify.
“I was shocked! At first I thought it was a dummy because the body was rigid and extremely pale, but when I got closer, I started to notice the veins under his skin and then I started smelling the stink. The smell was outrageous,” Wrate said this afternoon.
Wrate recalls the body, dressed in a sweater and trousers, was extremely bloated and appeared Asian. The Londoner said it had a full head of black hair and appeared to be in his 30s. No obvious wounds could be seen.
Wrate said he swam back to shore and asked a Thai-speaking member of their crew to inform a fisherman and resort employee to contact the police.
“There was no way I was going to drag the body to shore myself,” Wrate said, adding that someone in their group conducted an “Indian blessing ceremony” for the body.
The discovery of the body was witnessed by about a dozen people present on the beach at the time.
Island police today confirmed the discovery, saying they were still stumped as to who it belonged to.
“So far a local doctor has performed X-rays on the body. He confirmed that the corpse was an Asian male and estimated to have been in the water for about three days, but that’s all we know so far since he had no identification with him,” Col. Sathit Kongnian said.
Since the island does not have the facilities to perform an autopsy, the body will be transported Tuesday to the Bangkok Institute of Forensic Medicine to determine the cause of death.
Sathit said police are still trying to figure out what happened since the body didn’t have any apparent injuries, fractures or trauma. He said no missing persons reports have been filed there in the past week. He doesn’t believe the island should be worried about anything just yet – at least, not until the forensic results come back to confirm whether it was an accidental drowning, suicide or something more sinister.
Despite the shocking discovery, Wrate says he wasn’t worried about any safety concerns.
“There is such a separation between the Western and Asian community on the island that it almost feels like two different worlds,” he told us, adding that it would likely hit closer to home if a backpacker was discovered.