Boat captain abandons novice divers in middle of the ocean in Thailand

Boats on the coast off Koh Tao

Boats on the coast off Koh Tao. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

MESA, Ariz. — An East Valley couple vacationing to celebrate their first anniversary found themselves abandoned in the ocean, after a dive trip went wrong.

Lexa and Jake Mendenhall recently became certified scuba divers, and were looking forward to their first real dives in the blue waters off Thailand.

They made two one-hour dives, and all was well until they surfaced. Their boat was gone.

The Mendenhalls were stranded with two dive instructors from the Thai diving company, and another couple of novice divers.

The sun was setting, and their minds were racing.

“I kept thinking, ‘What if there’s no boat? It’s evening. What boat goes out in the evening?” Lexa wondered.

Her husband had a GoPro camera, and documented part of their dive. Before the batteries died, his video shows nearby cliffs which were too steep to climb.

A dive instructor waved an inflatable tube in an attempt to signal a boat they say passing by.


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