Thailand: Phuket boat sinking death toll continues to rise

Pauline Gross
July 10, 2018

Some of the bodies were found by divers who entered the wreck on Friday (July 06) and others were floating in the water, said navy official Narong Aurabhakdi.

All 39 passengers in the second boat have been rescued.

Rescue efforts are underway for dozens of passengers who went missing Thursday after two boats capsized off Thailand's resort island of Phuket in what appear to be separate incidents, according to a police spokesman. Thirty-five million tourists are expected to visit Thailand this year.

The accident has left at least 21 people dead, a lot of them Chinese tourists.

"It's very hard to see ... it's traumatic, it's tragic but the best thing to do, our job as divers, is to bring back the bodies to their families", diver Philip Entremont told reporters. Almost a dozen Chinese divers were taking part in the search.

In images taken after the sinking, rescued people sat in large rubber life rafts surrounded by churning seas.

Thai authorities say the death toll in a boat accident off the coast of Phuket has climbed to 17.

The prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, the leader of Thailand's military government, said that his "sympathies and deepest condolences" to the families of the dead.

"We aim to find the missing as soon as possible, as well as provide assistance to the injured, and family members of those involved, as well as help them make preparations for the next step", he said.

Thai junta number two Prawit Wongsuwon ordered an investigation into why "the boat went to sea" despite a weather warning, while Thai police said they would seek to charge the captain and owner with negligence.

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Jin Yilin, consul-general of the Chinese Embassy in Thailand, said a delegation from the Chinese Foreign Ministry is on the way to Thailand. At least 12 people have been treated at hospitals.

Ambassador Lyu said it hoped the cause of the capsizing would be quickly ascertained and asked Somkid to have the relevant Thai agencies closely cooperate with China on the matter.

The death toll from a boat accident near the Thai holiday island of Phuket has risen to 21.

Thai Navy officials help the tourists.

Numerous victims had been on group tours, booked in Phuket and China.

The chief of the Phuket Provincial Disaster Prevention and Mitigation office said Friday afternoon that another 38 people were missing. Ltd., from Thailand Friday morning. Seventy-eight Chinese nationals have been rescued.it said.

Another boat sailing in the same area also capsized but all 35 tourists, five crew and a guide on board were rescued, the Water Safety Department of the Harbour Department said.Thailand has a poor record on road and boat safety.

"After clearing the wreckage to make sure there is no one trapped inside anymore. we will pay more attention to the surface", Charoenphol said. All on board were returned safely to shore.

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.

Other reports by GizPress

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