Thailand boat accident: Death toll climbs to 27 and dozens still missing

Howard TerryJul 07, 2018

The death toll in a boat accident off Thailand's southern coast has risen to at least 33, Thai authorities said Friday.

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

"The mission will go on", he added.

Thailand's navy said nine bodies of Chinese tourists were being brought to Phuket. At least 12 of the injured were hospitalized.

The boat, which had left the popular snorkelling spot of Koh Racha to return to Phuket, was carrying 105 passengers, the majority Chinese tourists.

An investigation has been ordered into why the boats went out, despite severe weather warnings.

The couple was on their honeymoon and managed to escape the sinking boat.

"There were high winds this evening", he said, adding a further 10 pleasure boats were stranded at sea.

A total of 56 passengers were reported missing as of Friday morning before the recovery effort began, with the Phoenix looking set to be one of the worst boat disasters in recent Thai history. Strong winds were still blowing as searchers looked for the missing off the tourist island of Phuket in the Andaman Sea.

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

At press time, sea and air searches continued with the main focus on the sunk Phoenix yacht.

"I'm not really sure how many will survive", Phuket Governor Noraphat Plodthong told reporters.

Mr Norapat, the Phuket governor, said in the message that the provincial authorities will today continue to work with sailors from the 3rd Naval Area, marine police, and fishing boats in a search for the missing 58.

The three-decker tourist vessel, the Phoenix, was carrying 105 passengers when it keeled over and sank near the holiday island of Phuket during a storm on Thursday afternoon.

Several other vessels hit trouble late Thursday.

Thailand is already making global headlines after 12 boys and their junior soccer coach were found alive this week after becoming trapped inside a cave in the country's north.

The government of the eastern Chinese city of Haining in Zhejiang province said on its official microblog account that it received a distress alert sent by phone text message from the head of the Haining Haipai Furniture Co.

The Thai Navy, marine police and local fisherman are cooperating in the search and rescue efforts.

Chinese tourists make up the biggest number of foreign visitors to Thailand.

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