Fifty eight still missing from capsized boats off Phuket

Phuket boat accident: Vessels CAPSIZE in Thailand – 49 missing | Daily Star

"Navy searchers found seven dead (on Friday morning)", Busaya Jaipiem, a spokeswoman for Phuket province said.

It added that the Chinese consulate in southern Thailand already had staffers on the scene helping its citizens.

Thai divers scoured the wreckage of a boat with Chinese tourists that sank in a storm off the resort island of Phuket.

The death toll jumped after the navy sent divers to enter the wreck of the tour boat, which capsized and sank Thursday evening when it was hit by 5-metre-high waves.

At the time of the capsize, the tourist boat was carrying 105 people, including 93 tourists, 11 crew members and a tour guide.

One survivor, a Chinese woman, was rushed to a hospital in Phuket after she was found several kilometers from the boat, floating near the bodies of fellow passengers.

"I assume they are trapped inside the boat. but I wish some of them have survived", Phuket governor Noraphat Plodthong told reporters.

Thai rescuers have deployed helicopters to search for 23 people missing after a boat carrying Chinese tourists sank, with one official saying he feared "no chance" of any more survivors, which would mean almost 60 dead.

Heat wave brings a scorching Fourth of July
Some spot thunderstorms will be possible during the daytime, but it should be dry at night for the fireworks. Showers and storms will increase for Thursday and Friday as a cold front works in from the northwest.

The search for another 23 people still missing will resume at 5 a.m. Saturday, said Prapan Khanprasang, chief of the Phuket Provincial Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office.

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.

Chinese tourists make up the biggest foreign visitors to Thailand, with numbers surging in recent years due to the increasing popularity of Thailand's islands.

Thailand's deputy prime minister, Prawit Wongsuwon, has ordered an investigation into why "the boat went to sea" despite a weather warning of strong wind.

Governor Norraphat said that the main focus of the ongoing rescue operation is an 10 kilometres radius of where Phoenix sunk and that a search by air and sea will continue until all the missing people are found.

Forty-three other passengers remain unaccounted for but are believed to have been trapped on the Phoenix, which sank as it was returning from a day trip from Phuket.

Last year 9.8 million Chinese tourists visited Thailand, with five million more arriving between January and May this year.

Phuket officials had earlier issued a warning of severe weather until Tuesday, including heavy rain and winds.

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