150 searchers hunt for missing British woman in Cambodia
Phnom Pehn: About 150 people have joined the search for a young British woman who is missing on a Cambodian island popular with travellers, a senior police officer said Monday.
Maj Gen Chuon Narin, police chief of coastal Preah Sihanouk province, said divers, police, navy personnel, local volunteers and foreigners are taking part in the search for 21-year-old Amelia Bambridge.
She has not been seen since last Wednesday night, when she attended a beach party on Koh Rong island in southwestern Cambodia attended by tourists of various nationalities.
Her bag with phone, money and credit cards was found the next morning on a nearby beach, and after she failed to check out of the hostel where she had been staying her passport was found in her room.
Chuon Narin expressed guarded optimism that Bambridge might be found alive, saying that several foreign tourists have been previously found safe after going missing in a jungle area. He said he wasn't aware of any cases of foreigners being murdered.
The Phnom Penh Post newspaper cited a local official, Koh Rong commune chief Chhoeun Chantha, as saying that the search was being conducted in the jungle and at sea.
He said he suspects Bambridge may have drowned because her bag was found on a rock near the water's edge. Speed boats were being employed in the search.
Bambridge's brother and father are in Cambodia to help in the search, and her mother was en route, Britain's Press Association reported.
The family learned of her disappearance when she failed to check out from her hostel.
"As of now, the searchers have no news about her whereabouts and they have expanded the area they are searching to make sure all possible sites are checked," Chuon Narin said.
"I can't say whether Bambridge was killed or got lost in the island's jungle."
Koh Rong, about 25 kilometers (15 miles) offshore in the Gulf of Thailand, covers an area of about 78 square kilometers (30 square miles).
Bambridge's sister, Georgie, told Britain's Sky News that Amelia "literally wanted to go travelling her whole life. ... She has spent the past two years saving for it and spent the last year reading blogs of travellers, researching what she was going to do."
Her family said her trip to Asia began on September 27, when she flew to Vietnam.
Georgie said her sister "would never drink to excess" and was "always in control," adding, "She would always be looking out for me, it's not like her to not look after herself."