[top photo: Members of rescue team carry a dead body during a search operation off the coast of the southern Thai island of Phuket on March 10, 2009.]
Six dive masters from the Dive Asia Company, which operated the ill-fated diving trip, began an underwater search at 3.30pm yesterday.
Trapped in sleeping quarters
They told police they spotted the bodies of three women and one man inside sleeping quarters on the Chokesomboon 19 boat but were unable to retrieve them, said Pol Lt-Colonel Prasert Srikhunrat, deputy commander of Marine Police Division 8. The mission to retrieve the bodies will resume today.
Police said the bodies were believed to be those of an Austrian, a German and two Swiss nationals.
The boat was resting 70 metres below the sea's surface meaning the divers were limited to a 20-minute search, said Prasert. Two people remain missing.
Meanwhile, the husband and daughter of Austrian tourist Gabrielle Jetzinger, 52, used dental records, and a ring and watch she was wearing to positively identify her body.