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49 people missing after tourist boat capsizes off Thailand

Rescuers are searching the water off the island of Phuket amid rough conditions.

Dozens of passengers are unaccounted for, officials said (AP)
Dozens of passengers are unaccounted for, officials said (AP)

A total of 49 people are missing from a boat carrying mostly Chinese tourists which capsized in rough seas off southern Thailand, officials said.

Strong winds are still blowing as rescuers look for the missing in the Andaman Sea off the tourist island of Phuket.

Governor Norraphat Plodthong said 48 passengers were rescued from the boat, with 49 unaccounted for.

A police official had earlier said 90 people had been rescued and just seven were missing.

A second boat also overturned off Phuket on Thursday afternoon, but officials said the 39 Chinese and European tourists forced to abandon that boat were rescued and have returned to land.

Severe weather is forecast in the area until next Tuesday.

Ambulances line up on a pier waiting for rescued tourists (AP)

Thai media showed photos of people rescued from one of the boats in large rubber life rafts in heavy seas.

Images also showed survivors being lifted from the rafts and sitting in their life jackets amid ropes on the deck of what appears to be a fishing trawler.

Maj Gen Norraphat said: “All agencies are co-operating in their search at this time.

“We have given warnings … but the winds are strong.”

He said officials would consider whether to ban boats from going to sea during strong winds.

Press Association


From Belfast Telegraph