THAILAND: FIFTY-EIGHT STILL MISSING FROM CAPSIZED BOATS OFF PHUKET

BANGKOK, Thailand Fifty-eight tourists on board a diving boat and yacht remain missing after the two capsized in rough seas off the popular Phuket Island in southern Thailand yesterday.

According to Phuket governor Noraphat Plodthong, a Chinese tourist is confirmed dead from the incident which occurred at 5.45 pm.

"Those still missing are mostly Chinese tourists from diving tour boat 'Phoenix Diving' which was carrying 105 passengers during the incident. One passenger died, 56 from the boat remain missing, while 48 have been rescued," he told the press in Phuket today.

Many of the survivors from the boat were rescued by nearby fishermen and transferred to the main island.

The storm yesterday which caused waves of up to five metres high also overturned the yacht 'Serenitta', throwing 42 of its passengers into the raging sea, with 40 of them rescued and two still missing.

The yacht was hit by high waves while making its way back from Koh Racha Island.

Noraphat added that efforts were also underway to transfer 263 tourists stranded in Koh Racha Island since yesterday due to the stormy weather.

The governor said search and rescue operations had also roped in the services of helicopters and Royal Thai Navy vessels to scour waters near Phuket Island.

Divers were also brought in to see if any passengers were trapped inside the sunken 'Phoenix Diving', he added.

Source: NAM News Network