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Thailand tourist boat sinking: death toll rises, at least 33 confirmed dead

10 July 2018
Thailand tourist boat sinking: death toll rises, at least 33 confirmed dead

Divers who entered the wreck of the tour boat Friday described heart-breaking scenes of bodies of children found in the arms of their mothers.

Chinese tourists make up the biggest number of foreign visitors to Thailand. The islet is known for its powdery beach and coral reefs.

The boat was carrying 105 people, including 93 tourists, 11 crew and one tour guide when it toppled in 5-metre (16-foot) -high waves on Thursday evening.

Reports in Thai media said police charged the owner and captain of the stricken ship with carelessness causing death and injury.

"Even though we are doctors, in this situation, it makes us feel that life is so fragile", said Fang Han Yi, a medical student from China's Wuhan city, who volunteered at the hospital Saturday.

Police are investigating the incident, the Phuket Marine Police said, adding that the boat was properly registered and had not been overloaded at the time of the accident.

A note that was circulated by rescue workers invited reporters to join an effort yesterday to raise the sunken Phoenix.

Divers have been searching inside the submerged vessel for any survivors.

"Helicopters will search for those who may have floated out".

All the victims were from the boat "Phoenix", while all 42 people onboard the boat "Serenata" were rescued and safe.

"There are so many family members back home waiting on our updates", he said.

"There should definitely be compensation (for the accident)", she told Agence France-Presse, while waiting to be signed in at the hospital.

Chinese trainee doctors from Wuhan, Fang Han Yi, right, and Cheng Chi Lin talk to Associated Press at Chalong pier in Phuket in Phuket, Thailand, Sunday, July 8, 2018. "All I want is to identify and claim (my sister's) body and return home".

The Phoenix was among several boats that appeared to have ignored a warning in place since Wednesday not to take tourists on day-trips to the islands that dot the seas off Phuket.

"The adults still haven't been found".

"We still couldn't find many of them". "This kind of pain most people just can't understand".

The tourist boat capsized soon after water began to pour into the vessel, recalled Huang, adding that the crew members released a life raft after passengers were swept into the sea.

Ministries of foreign affairs, transport, and culture and tourism had sent a joint task force to Phuket.

It also stressed the importance of researching online travel companies when booking overseas trips.

Numerous tourists involved in the accident had booked their trips independently via online tourism platforms, the ministry said.

It is one of the worst boat disasters in the recent history of Thailand, a nation with a poor health and safety track record despite being heavily dependent on tourism.

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