Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

7 more dead found, dozens still missing

The first survivors from the boat sinkings earlier today have been brought ashore At least seven missing after tourist boats capsize in Phuket, Thailand
Ellis Copeland | 06 July, 2018, 09:46

Thai authorities say the death toll in a boat accident off the coast of Phuket has climbed to 10 and is expected to continue rising.

The first body was found early Friday, and 12 more were found just before noon, according to Thai News Agency.

Thai navy divers prepared on Friday to search for 56 mostly Chinese tourists missing after a storm capsized their diving boat off the resort island of Phuket.

The governor of southern Phuket, Noraphat Plodthong, said: 'There are 53 people missing.

"We will search under the belly of the boat", the Marines said.

A second boat also overturned off Phuket on Thursday afternoon, but officials said the 39 Chinese and European tourists forced to abandon that boat were rescued and have returned to land.

One of the vessels, reportedly returning to Phuket from Koh Racha in the Andaman Sea, was carrying around 100 passengers when it overturned.

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Tourist Police Deputy Commander Maj-General Surachet Hakpan said, "We have warned many Phuket tour operators not to leave port today".

"Yesterday we issued a warning of strong winds and storms".

He said the boat was hit by five metre-high waves, which flooded the boat that started to slowly keel over, prompting him to warn passengers to put on life jackets and trigger inflatable life rafts.

Thailand has a poor health and safety record and accidents are common on its roads and busy waterways - especially in tourist areas during the monsoon season which is now biting.

The images also showed survivors being lifted from the rafts and sitting in life jackets amid ropes on the deck of what appears to be a fishing trawler.

Thailand is already in the global spotlight for a dramatic rescue mission in the north of the country, after 12 boys and their football coach were trapped in a cave complex. Rescue operations involving 150 personnel are ongoing for another nine people believed to be still missing.

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