Dozens missing after Thai tourist boat overturns in wild weather

06 Juillet, 2018, 04:07 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau

Another two boats, including a yacht carrying 39 people, also capsized but its passengers have been brought to safety.

The island of Phuket - known for its beaches and luxurious resorts - is one of Thailand's most popular tourist destinations. The reason for the discrepancy was not clear.

At least 48 passengers were rescued by a fishing trawler when one of the vessels, carrying 97 people, overturned in strong winds and rough seas.

A second boat also overturned at another location off Phuket on Thursday afternoon.

The governor of southern Phuket, Noraphat Plodthong, said on Thursday that a number of passengers were still "being helped" by rescue boats sent to the scene.

"There were high winds this evening", he said, adding a further 10 pleasure boats were stranded at sea and being attended to by rescue boats from the police and navy.

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

A late report from the Thai PBS television station said the body of a man wearing a life jacket from the larger vessel had been recovered.

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

He said officials would consider whether to ban boats from going to sea during strong winds. However, at last report that the rescue teams were finding it hard to carry out the rescue with darkness falling and the strong wind and waves continuing. They said they don't know the nationalities of the other missing people, but those who had been rescued were mostly Chinese on group tours.

Phuket is a magnet for overseas visitors including Western sun-seekers and huge numbers of Chinese tourists who make up the bulk of the 35 million people expected to visit the kingdom this year.

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