Flash Floods At Waterfalls In Southern Thailand Kill At Least 21, Dozens Missing

Saturday, April 14th 2007, 2:15 pm

By: News On 6

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ Flash floods swept over two waterfalls Saturday on a southern Thai mountain popular with picknickers and swimmers, killing at least 21 people as the country celebrated its traditional New Year, officials said.

Recovery crews estimated dozens were missing at the jungled Sairung and Praisawan waterfalls, which were crowded this weekend with people celebrating the holiday. About 200 people were thought to have been at the cascades during the flood.

Some 120 people swept into the water at Sairung or stranded on rocks were rescued, said Soralak Thiepwu, deputy chief of the provincial disaster prevention center.

The falls, about three miles apart, are in a forested area in the Yantakao district of Trang province, 420 miles south of Bangkok. Swimmers and picnickers gather alongside streams at the base of the cascades.

Klinpaka Saengkul, a nurse and member of a recovery crew at Sairung, said she saw rescuers pull the bodies of three female victims from the water.

She estimated that dozens more remained missing.

``We do not know for sure how many people are missing, but believe that more dead bodies are still in the water in the jungles somewhere,'' Soralak said.

Fifteen bodies were found at Sairung, and six more at Praisawan, said Soralak, adding that the search for survivors and bodies would become difficult as night fell.

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