Death toll climbs to 38 in Thailand boat sinking

08 July, 2018, 02:31 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Tourists on the Phoenix PD diving boat are rescued by a trawler after their vessel sank in Phuket on Thursday

A search will continue today for 58 people, majority tourists, who are still missing after three accidents in strong seas off Phuket involving two jet skis, a dive boat and a yacht on Thursday (July 5) afternoon, according a message posted on Facebook page "Phuket Public Relations" on Friday morning.

Thai disaster management authorities on Friday said 18 tourists were found dead after two boats capsized near Thailand's southern island of Phuket, with 38 others still missing. The majority of those on board were Chinese tourists on a day trip from Phuket before their vessel got knocked over by 5m-high storm waves.

However, there are conflicting reports of how many bodies have been pulled from the water.

"The 12 bodies are on the way to Vachira Phuket Hospital for identification", according to a statement from the Public Health Ministry in Bangkok.

The police are investigating the incident, the Phuket Marine Police said, adding the boat was properly registered and was not overloaded at the time of the accident.

"There was a lot of debris, shoes, glass, and even personal belongings, so we had to navigate through all that", he said.

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He said officials would consider whether to ban boats from going to sea during strong winds.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan ordered a probe into why "the boat went to sea" despite a weather warning of strong wind.

Rescuers suspended their search on Friday evening, with their efforts due to resume on Saturday morning.

"We have sent boats to help", Rear Admiral Somnuk Prempramote, commander of the Royal Thai Navy Region 3.

The three-decker Phoenix was carrying 105 passengers, mostly Chinese tourists, when it sank on the way back from a popular snorkelling spot.

The accidents came as rescuers, also led by Thai navy divers, struggled to extract 12 boys and their football coach from a flooded cave in the country's far north, where they've been trapped since June 23.

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In its statement, it added that the Chinese consulate in southern Thailand already had staffers on the scene helping its citizens.

Two boats carrying more than 140 people flipped when they ran into rough waves in Phuket, Thailand.

Fatal accidents among foreign tourists at Thai beaches are not unusual, but normally involve drownings in unsafe swimming areas or accidents involving smaller boats.

Many had been found trapped inside the boat.

Phuket officials had earlier issued a warning of severe weather until next Tuesday, including heavy rain and winds.

We have helped 48 people from the capsized boat.

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