At least seven missing after tourist boats capsize in Phuket, Thailand

Cheryl Sanders
July 6, 2018

A provincial governor says 49 people are missing from a boat carrying mostly Chinese tourists that overturned in rough seas off southern Thailand.

Police previously said 90 people had been rescued from the boat and just seven were missing. It was not immediately clear if the passengers were tourists.

A rescued woman wearing a life jacket hugs a man after a boat capsized off the tourist island of Phuket, Thailand July 5, 2018 in this still image taken from video.

Governor Noraphat said Phuket officials had issued a weather warning on Wednesday alerting the public about impending storms.

They have been all been returned to land via large rubber life-rafts.

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

All 39 passengers in the second boat have been rescued.

Photographs circulating on social media showed soaked and exhausted passengers - a lot of them Asian - in life jackets being pulled on inflatable rafts to safety.

The body of one of the passengers, believed to be a Chinese holidaymaker, was pulled from the sea late Thursday and brought to shore, shortly before the search was called off for the night.

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

The incident comes as rescuers, also led by Thai navy divers, struggle to extract 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in the country's far north, where they've been trapped since June 23. The monsoon season often brings high winds to coastal areas and flash storms. They said a rescue operation was underway to find the missing 56.

Around 48 people have been pulled to safety, but a desperate search continues for the others.

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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