18 tourists dead, 38 others missing in China boat accidents
Thai disaster management authorities on Friday said 18 tourists were found dead after two boats capsized near Thailand’s southern island of Phuket, with 38 others still missing.
According to Prapan Chantaseng, Head of Phuket’s Disaster Department, the number of dead was raised from an initial figure of eight to 18.
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.
“One body was found late Thursday, and the remainder on Friday.
“The accidents had left dozens of people stranded in the water with life vests on, however, 38 are still missing,’’ Prapan said.
Somsak Soprakarn of the Phuket police said “more marine officers have been deployed today.
“We still couldn’t find many of them.’’
He said that another boat sank off Koh Hae, 10 kilometres south of Phuket, while a yacht carrying other Chinese nationals also sank off Koh Mai Ton, 9 kilometres south-east of Phuket, Somsak said.
The disaster management department said there were 93 tourists on the boat with 12 crew members and 39 on the yacht with two crew members.
It said that all the passengers had been saved from the yacht, meaning that all the casualties were from the boat.
“On the same day, a Russian couple’s jet ski overturned near Koh Racha, 15 kilometres from Phuket, however, they have already been rescued,’’ Somsak said.
Police attributed the cause of the incidents to strong sea currents and wind.
Thailand is in the middle of its rainy season, with sailing often not advisable during this time.