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US sheriff’s office rejects claims over delay in recovering bodies of Thai students

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The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office on Friday dismissed as completely false criticism that it delayed recovering the bodies of two Thai students and their rental car from Kings River in California because they were not Americans.

Sheriff’s Office spokesman Tony Botti said that his office prides itself on professionalism.
“We value every human life whether they are an American citizen or not.  We are working hard to bring peace to the victims' loved ones in Thailand.  We ask for their patience during this delicate recovery process.” Botti said. He was responding to queries sent to his office’s Facebook page.
Protests are planned in Fresno County and Los Angeles by the Thai Amercian Community as frustration mounts at the slow progress of the operation. Organisers have said they would proceed with the protests if the retrieval mission did not start today.
Criticism has spread in Thailand and the US that the Fresno County’s Sheriff Office delayed the job because the victims were Asians not Americans.
The victims were Thiwadee Saengsuriyarit, 24, and Bhakapon Chairattanasongporn, 28, both postgraduate students at South Florida University. 
They were heading to Kings Canyon National Park when their car plunged off a highway into a 150metre deep gorge about two weeks ago. The latest information was that both students’ bodies were in the car.
An uncle of Bhaapon on Thursday sought a visa for a Thai rescue team to go to the US, saying they could do the job if the Americans could not.

Published : August 11, 2017

By : Marisa Chimprabha The Nation