Swiss woman found dead in Thailand near waterfall

Tourists on a beach in Phuket, Thailand
Thai authorities have just recently allowed tourists to return to the island under its “Phuket Sandbox” programme

A Swiss woman has been found dead near a waterfall in Thailand on the resort island of Phuket.

Local officials have identified the victim as 57-year-old Nicole Sauvain-Weisskopf, and launched an investigation.

Police found her face down in the water covered by a black sheet, with her phone, shorts and trainers nearby.

As yet it is unclear what happened to the Swiss national. Results of an autopsy are expected later on Friday. Local officials however have suggested she was murdered.

A spokesman for Thailand’s foreign minister Don Pramudwinai said on Twitter he had sent his condolences to the Swiss ambassador for the “murder of a Swiss woman in Phuket”.

And government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said that Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha had ordered police “to expedite the investigation to identify and arrest the culprit”.

He also ordered officials to increase security in Phuket.

Switzerland’s foreign ministry meanwhile released a statement on Thursday saying Thai authorities had contacted them about the death of an “apparent Swiss citizen” but gave no more details, citing privacy concerns.

Reports suggest she may have been a Swiss diplomat, although officials have not yet commented on her job. The death comes just weeks after Thailand launched it so-called “Phuket Sandbox” scheme. Ms Sauvain-Weisskopf reportedly arrived in Thailand on 13 July.

Under the programme, vaccinated tourists can come to the island without the need to quarantine, but cannot travel to the mainland within 14 days. Before the pandemic tourism accounted for about one fifth of the Thai economy.

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