Dozens missing in boat capsize off Thailand's Phuket

Pauline Gross
July 6, 2018

A provincial governor says 49 people are missing from a boat carrying mostly Chinese tourists that overturned in rough seas off southern Thailand.

Phuket governor Noraphat Plodthong said the tourists might be alive as there has been no sign of dead bodies in the sea. The reason for the discrepancies was not clear.

A second boat also overturned off Phuket on Thursday afternoon.

In a separate incident in the same area Thursday evening a yacht called the Senerita carrying 39 people also capsized in the high seas, the officials added.

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

Reporters at the scene confirmed that the body was still wearing a life vest emblazoned with the logo of the Phoenix tour boat that sank yesterday.

The kingdom is already in the global spotlight for a dramatic rescue mission in the north of the country, after 12 boys and their soccer coach were trapped in a cave complex.

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The boat was carrying 90 passengers when it capsized.

Photographs circulating on social media showed soaked and exhausted passengers - majority Asian - in life jackets being pulled on inflatable rafts to safety.

The boat was one of three to encounter difficulties at sea in the area on Thursday, the navy said.

"All agencies are co-operating in their search at this time", Mr Norraphat said.

Most of the tourists were understood to be Chinese, with two believed to be westerners, according to the boat's captain. "They have ignored our warnings many times before by departing from ports with tourists into the Andaman Sea while wind and waves are at unsafe level".

Phuket is a magnet for overseas visitors including British sun-seekers and huge numbers of Chinese tourists who make up the bulk of the 35 million people expected to visit this year.

The search for about 45 more people missing continues.

Other reports by GizPress

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