Divers and local fishermen resumed the search of Pakpron canal today for Apichit Winothai, mayor of Nakhon Trang Municipality, after the strong current and cold water forced them to stop last night.
The mayor's Mitsubishi Pajero ran off the road into the canal about 7.15pm on Wednesday near Ban Pak Pron pier in Hat Samran district after he and his driver left Thetsaban 1 Sangkhawit School, where he opened a scout camp.
When the SUV was pulled from the water three hours later, the chauffer, Sutthimeth Panysitthikorn, 22, was found dead behind the wheel.
The front windshield was missing, giving hope the mayor might have escaped from the car and was still alive.
District chief Narong Nuniem said the strong tide and conditions were posing problems for the searchers. "I hoped after seeing the windshield was broken that he may have swum to the canal bank," he said.
The pier is close to the mouth of the canal, which empties into the Andaman Sea.
Witness Khamnueng Chanfak said the car was travelling fast. He saw it go into the canal and immediately shouted for people to help.
The vehicle was towed to Hat Samran police station, where it would be examined to see what might have caused the accident.