Cambodia says British tourist death was accidental drowning

Phnom Penh (AFP) –


A 21-year-old British tourist whose body was found floating in the sea off the Cambodian coast accidentally drowned, an official said Friday, ruling out foul play after a days-long search grabbed international headlines.

Backpacker Amelia Bambridge mysteriously disappeared in southern Cambodia on October 24 after a late-night beach party on the island of Koh Rong.

She did not check out from her hostel, and soon her relatives and more than 100 members of the security forces were scouring the nearby jungle and sea.

Police finally located her body on Thursday some 70 kilometres (40 miles) away near the Thai border, but the case was ruled an accident.

"She died from drowning," Kheang Phearum, spokesman for the Preah Sihanouk provincial administration, told AFP.

"There is no sign of a criminal offence. The body has been given to her family."

A two-hour ferry ride from the boom town of Sihanoukville, Koh Rong is popular with backpackers for its cheap guesthouses, beachside bars and idyllic sunsets.

The Southeast Asian country's economy relies heavily on tourism and is generally considered safe for travellers.

But crimes involving foreigners have occasionally grabbed headlines.

Last month a Cambodian court charged three men with gang-raping a French tourist in the coastal province of Kampot after offering her a ride in their car.