Nearly 60 Believed Dead After Tourist Yacht Sinks (VIDEO)


tourist boat

As many as 60 people may be dead after a yacht loaded with tourists capsized off of the coast of Thailand.

The boat was loaded with about 100 people Thursday night when it capsized and sank in stormy weather off the coast of Phuket Island in Thailand. Most of those aboard were Chinese tourists.

After an initial rescue of survivors in the water, few others have been found, and over a dozen still missing. Helicopters flying over the area have found no more survivors.

Divers have seen over two dozen bodies in the boat, and if no other survivors are found, the death toll could be near sixty.

Reuters reports.

The confirmed death toll from the accident off the resort island of Phuket stood at 33, provincial governor Noraphat Plodthong said, but the navy said divers had spotted “quite a few bodies” in the sunken vessel, the Phoenix.

The boat capsized in rough seas on Thursday with 105 people on board, 93 of them Chinese tourists along with 12 Thai crew and tour guides.

Television broadcast images of dozens of divers searching for the missing, while more rescuers waited on standby at a pier nearby. Seas were calm and skies clear on Friday.

The Marine Police said rescue teams were diving to a depth of about 40 meters (130 feet).

A Marine Department official said there was probably “no chance” any more survivors could be found from inside the boat.

“A day and a night have passed,” said the department’s deputy director-general, Kritpetch Chaichuay.

Chinese media and regional news sources are covering the tragedy.

It does not appear that the boat capsized due to overloading or other factors outside of bad weather.

Thailand is in the middle of its rainy season, which usually runs from May to October and often generates high winds and flash storms in coastal areas, especially on its west coast, on the Indian Ocean, where Phuket is located.

Police are investigating the incident. The boat, which went down about 7 km (5 miles) from shore, was properly registered and had not been overloaded, police said.

Tour operators had been warned about the severe weather, Tourist Police bureau deputy chief, Major General Surachate Hakparn, said.

“Be careful … nature is not a joke,” Surachate wrote on Facebook.

Additional video out of Thailand shows the rescue efforts.

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