Published: Tue, July 10, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Heartbreaking scenes in Thai boat sinking

Heartbreaking scenes in Thai boat sinking

Chen Wei said the boat company ignored warnings of bad weather and failed to take adequate measures to ensure passenger safety.

It went down about 7km from the shore and sank to a depth of about 38-40 metres, the Royal Thai Marine Corps said in a statement.

Thailand is in the middle of its rainy season, which usually runs from May to mid-October and often generates high winds and flash storms in coastal areas.

One body has been particularly hard to retrieve after it was trapped by the sunken boat, the divers said, adding that they were ready to bring in specialized equipment.

The death toll from a boat accident near the Thai holiday island of Phuket has risen to 21.

Forty-one of those on board have been confirmed dead and 49 rescued, officials said.

"I've already told you the name, why can't you take me there now?" a man was heard shouting at hospital staff. Police previously said 90 people had been rescued from the boat and just seven were missing.

He said that two boats carrying a total of 146 passengers and crew 129 of whom were Chinese tourists sank on Thursday near the popular tourist destination 840 kilometres south of Bangkok.

"After this evening, if we do not find any more missing in the wreckage, the missing will float to the surface and we will be able to find them", he told reporters. The commander of Phuket Provincial Police, Teerapol Tipcharoen, said the sea had calmed since Thursday evening's accident and the search was ongoing.

The death toll jumped after the navy sent divers to the wreck.

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South African Dominic Robnik, who has been involved in the search on both days, called the scenes "very, very sad".

Mr Weerasak also noted that local businesses in Phuket are providing accommodation and use of other facilities and services for families of the victims and survivors now arriving on the island.

Phuket draws hordes of overseas visitors including Western sun-seekers and huge numbers of Chinese tourists who make up almost a third of the 35 million people expected to visit Thailand this year.

Rescued tourists are helped onto a pier. The body of a tourist from the boat was found near Koh L. Still missing were 56 tourists.

Thailand is already making worldwide 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.

More than 90 passengers were onboard when the boat began to keel over, prompting a rescue operation that stretched into the night and left authorities scrambling to react.

The prime minister ordered the creation of a command center for the rescue operation in Phuket.

The second boat was carrying mostly European passengers.

But as details dripped through overnight, governor Noraphat said two passengers were still unaccounted for from another stricken ship.

The disaster on Thursday, Thailand's biggest tourist-related in years, didn't appear to deter visitors, with dozens seen leaving on boats Sunday for island diving and cruise trips.

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