Published: Fri, July 06, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Dozens missing after boats capsize in Thailand

Dozens missing after boats capsize in Thailand

Television footage taken at a pier in Phuket showed stunned tourists huddling in blankets, while several women cried as medics tended to the injured.

The first body was found early Friday, and 12 more were found just before noon, according to Thai News Agency.

Strong winds were still blowing as searchers looked for the missing people off the tourist island of Phuket in the Andaman Sea.

Police Lt. Colonel Somsak Sophakarn, the deputy chief of Phuket's Chalong Provincial Police Station, said one of the boats, the Phoenix PC Diving boat, had some 90 passengers on board, most of whom were Chinese tourists.

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"We will search under the belly of the boat", the Marines said.

In a separate incident in the same area Thursday evening a yacht called the Senerita carrying 39 people also capsized, the official added.

"There were high winds this evening", he said, adding a further 10 pleasure boats were stranded at sea. "We have sent boats to help", said Rear Admiral Somnuk Prempramote, commander of the Royal Thai Navy Region 3. "Boats heading to Phang Nga Bay, Koh Lon and islands closer to Phuket are permitted to leave port and proceed with caution".

Governor Noraphat said Phuket officials had issued a weather warning on Wednesday alerting the public about impending storms.

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The second boat, the Serenita, had almost 40 passengers on board, Sophakarn said.

Reporters at the scene confirmed that the body was still wearing a life vest emblazoned with the logo of the Phoenix tour boat that sank yesterday.

The kingdom is already in the global spotlight for a dramatic rescue mission in the north of the country, after 12 boys and their football coach were trapped in a cave complex. "They have ignored our warnings many times before by departing from ports with tourists into the Andaman Sea while wind and waves are at risky level".

Thailand is in the middle of its monsoon season which brings with it adverse weather conditions.

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They are said to have been a group of Chinese tourists. They said a rescue operation was underway to find the missing 56.

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