Dozens missing after boat capsizes off Thailand's Phuket island

Elias Hubbard
July 6, 2018

Rescued tourists are brought aboard a fishing boat, but the Phuket governor's office says "dozens of Chinese" are missing after their tourist boat capsized.

The governor of southern Phuket, Noraphat Plodthong, said 49 people - more half of the passengers - were still "being helped" as rescue boats rushed to the scene.

Thai Navy boats are searching for those who remain missing but rescue efforts are being hampered by conditions.

It was not immediately clear which boat they belonged to.

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

The other, carrying 39 people - reportedly Chinese and European tourists - also capsized in a separate incident in the same area.

Officials had earlier issued a warning of severe weather until next Tuesday, including heavy rain and strong winds.

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

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

"We have given warnings ... but the winds are strong."

A late report from the Thai PBS television station said the body of a man wearing a lifejacket from the larger vessel had been recovered.

Phuket is a magnet for overseas visitors including Western sun-seekers and Chinese tourists who will make up the bulk of the 35 million people expected to visit the kingdom this year.

The boat was carrying 90 passengers when it capsized.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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