Heartbreaking scenes as death toll rises after Thai tourist boat sinks

TWITTER/@FM91TRAFFICPRO

TWITTER/@FM91TRAFFICPRO

Authorities had already confirmed the death of another Chinese man.

Recovery divers have pulled 42 bodies from the sea off the resort island of Phuket, but authorities have said 14 other passengers remain unaccounted for.

Phuket provincial rescue centre said "21 bodies" had been retrieved from the water, while Rear Admiral Charoenphon Khumrasee of the Thai navy said divers had seen "over 10 bodies" inside the submerged boat, which was carrying Chinese tourists when it went down on Thursday.

The boat was carrying 105 people, including 93 tourists, 11 crew and one tour guide when it toppled in five-metre-high waves on Thursday evening.

The accidents came as rescuers, also led by Thai navy divers, support 12 boys and their soccer coach stranded almost two weeks inside a flooded cave in the country's far north, and try to determine how and when to extract them.

Severe weather in the area is expected until Tuesday, and Governor Norraphat Plodthong said Phuket officials had alerted the public about the storms.

"We continue to gather a team to search for them". The reason for the discrepancies was not clear.

Rescue workers respond to the boat accident in Phuket on Thursday night.

Footage shared on Facebook showed officials at a pier gathering information as the rescue operation unfolded in darkness behind them.

"Urgent! The Chinese embassy is calling for 40 freezers", the Thai government said in an appeal, urging potential donors to contact the hospital.

About 50 people had been rescued and taken ashore by mid-Friday. The survivors were shown being lifted from the rafts and sitting wearing life jackets amid ropes on the deck of what appeared to be a fishing trawler.

According to AFP, there was a weather warning for the islands around Phuket on the day that the ships sank.

Police attributed the cause of the incidents to strong sea currents and wind.

Today the search was expanded to include Koh Yao Yai, some 15km east of Phuket, and even the tourist-popular Phi Phi Don Island, halfway across the bay, due to the prevailing current and wind.

It said that 37 of the furniture company's employees and family members had travelled together to Phuket and that on July 5 at around 5 p.m. they encountered the "biggest storm in five years" and they sought the government's help.

The Thai incidents came after an overloaded boat carrying illegal Indonesian immigrants capsized in bad weather off Malaysia's southern Johor state late Sunday.

Some 48 people passengers and crew were rescued from the Phoenix before the operation was suspended overnight. Ten others, including four women, were found dead.

Thai rescuers prepare for diving after the 12 boys and their soccer coach were found alive, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand, July 3, 2018.

Such tragedies are not uncommon in Malaysia.

Phuket - The boat lists hard to the right, sending a man tumbling across an aisle toward windows that look nearly straight down on fast-moving white-capped waves.

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