Bodies Found After Phuket Boat Capsized, Officials Say

Bodies Found After Phuket Boat Capsized, Officials Say

A boat carrying dozens of Chinese tourists overturned in rough seas off southern Thailand.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon has ordered an investigation into why "the boat went to sea" despite a weather warning of strong wind, according to an AFP report. It was not immediately clear if the passengers were tourists.

The confirmed death toll from the accident off the resort island of Phuket stood at 27, but the navy said divers had spotted "quite a few bodies" in the sunken vessel, the Phoenix.

He said that two boats carrying a total of 146 passengers and crew 129 of whom were Chinese tourists sank on Thursday near the popular tourist destination 840 kilometres south of Bangkok.

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 Harbor Department said.

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

The accidents came as rescuers, also led by Thai navy divers, support 12 boys and their soccer coach stranded almost two weeks inside a flooded cave in the country's far north, and try to determine how and when to extract them.

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A Thai Tourist Police boat prepares to dock at Chalong pier in Phuket on Jul 6, 2018, as rescue operations continue nearby for missing tourists following a boating accident on Jul 5.

There are some Chinese tourists on board, the consulate-general said, and they are mostly one-day individual visitors or staff and their families of a Chinese company.

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

Thailand is already making headlines after a young footbal team consisting of 12 boys and their junior coach were found alive earlier this week after becoming trapped in a cave in the north of the island.

All 39 passengers in the second boat have been rescued. Forty-eight people have been rescued and taken to shore, he said. Ten others, including four women, were found dead.

The search for another 23 people still missing will resume at 5 a.m. Saturday, said Prapan Khanprasang, chief of the Phuket Provincial Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office.

Such tragedies are not uncommon in Malaysia. "Boats heading to Phang Nga Bay, Koh Lon and islands closer to Phuket are permitted to leave port and proceed with caution".

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