Former Sultan police officer safe in Thailand

SULTAN – Former Sultan police officer Mitchell Moffitt went from dodging gunfire in Iraq to surviving a tsunami in Thailand.

Moffitt, 40, took a break last month from training police in Iraq to vacation in Thailand with his girlfriend. They were there Dec. 26 when the tsunami struck, killing more than 5,000 people in Thailand alone.

“He went on vacation for two weeks, and I thought for two weeks I thought I didn’t have to worry about him,” said his mother, Edna Moffitt of Springfield, Miss. “Then the tsunami happened.”

Moffitt’s parents believed he’d been staying on an island battered by a wall of water. His family and Sultan police waited for news from him. Moffitt worked as a Sultan officer for five years before resigning last spring to work in Iraq.

“He was an accomplished swimmer, and he taught scuba diving. We were hopeful that if he did get caught up in the tsunami his scuba skills would help him,” Sultan Police Chief Fred Walser said Monday. “We were hoping and praying for the best.”

The Moffitts contacted the State Department and found a photo of an injured man CNN posted online they were certain was their son.

But five days after the tsunami, Moffitt called his parents and told them he was safe. He and his girlfriend had been hiking in mountains in northern Thailand, his mother said, and were not in danger.

“It was just really good to hear his voice,” Edna Moffitt said.

Sultan police learned Monday that Mitch Moffitt survived.

Moffitt returns to duty in Baghdad on Wednesday, where he works for contractor DynCorp, his mother said.

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