Friday 15 November 2019

Body of missing British backpacker found at sea

British tourist Amelia Bambridge holds a mug of beer in Prague, Czech Republic in July 2019
British tourist Amelia Bambridge holds a mug of beer in Prague, Czech Republic in July 2019

Sopheng Cheang

The body of British backpacker Amelia Bambridge has been found at sea dozens of miles from the island where she disappeared, Cambodian police said.

The 21-year-old's body was discovered in the Gulf of Thailand north west of Koh Rong, where she disappeared after attending a beach party on the night of October 23, the police chief for Preah Sihanouk province said.

It was found near another island, Koh Chhlam, close to Cambodia's maritime border with Thailand, Major General Chuon Narin said.

Ms Bambridge, from Worthing, West Sussex, was reported missing after she failed to check out of her hotel on time, and staff at Police Beach, a private venue on the island, found her purple rucksack with her purse, phone and bank cards inside the following morning.

Authorities had launched an intensive land, air and sea search on and around Koh Rong, joined by members of Ms Bambridge's family.

The family had speculated she could have become lost in the heavy jungle in the island's interior, but Cambodian officials had openly leaned towards the theory that she drowned in the sea, because her bag was found on a rock near the edge of the ocean.

Deputy navy commander Tea Sokha said the authorities were tipped off about the body by fishermen who saw it.

He said it was then identified as Ms Bambridge's on the basis of its Western appearance and especially because of the clothing and tattoos, both of which matched photos of her taken on the night she disappeared.

The body is being taken to the mainland port of Sihanoukville for forensic experts to confirm the identification and to examine the cause of death, he said.

In addition, officials are checking with local fishermen to see if there were any reports of other missing women who might have been lost at sea.

Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, said: "Devastated to hear the terribly sad news about Amelia Bambridge this morning - the thoughts and prayers of everyone in Worthing are with her family and friends."

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