Thailand Boat Accident Death Toll Climbs to 33

Thailand Boat Accident Death Toll Climbs to 33

Thailand Boat Accident Death Toll Climbs to 33

The Phoenix capsized and sank in rough seas on Thursday with 105 passengers on board, including 93 Chinese tourists and 12 Thai crew and tourist guides.

Those numbers come from the Associated Press, who have also confirmed from authorities that all of the dead are Chinese nationals.

Forty-eight people - passengers and crew - were rescued before the operation was suspended late Thursday.

"The Tourist Police warned businesses in Phuket already to not take boats out from shore, but they violated this order by taking foreign tourists out", he said.

Officials said all 42 on board have been rescued.

Images on Thursday showed rescued people in large rubber life rafts, with fishing boats and churning seas in the background.

Severe weather is forecast in the area until next Tuesday.

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

The Pheonix boat was pummelled by huge waves as high winds whipped up the sea off the popular island of Phuket.

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.

The three-decker tourist vessel, the Phoenix, was carrying 105 passengers when it keeled over and sank near the holiday island of Phuket during a storm on Thursday afternoon.

Photos taken after the incident show that some of the people onboard were rescued by a fishing trawler.

"Right now officials from the marine police and navy are helping to dive at the spot where the boat sank", Thailand's Marine Police said in a statement.

Thailand is already making global headlines after 12 boys and their junior soccer coach were found alive this week after becoming trapped inside a cave in the country's north. Officials said the 39 Chinese and European tourists who were forced to abandon that boat were rescued and have returned to land.

The government of the eastern Chinese city of Haining in Zhejiang province also said on its official microblog account that it received a distress alert sent by phone text message from the head of the Haining Haipai Furniture. Ten others, including four women, were found dead. Rescue operations involving 150 personnel are ongoing for nine people believed to be still missing.

Such tragedies are not uncommon in Malaysia. Many tour operators have complained about lax enforcement of basic safety measures, such as seatbelts in cars and lifejackets on boats.

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