The death toll is likely to rise after a tourist boat sinks off the popular destination of Phuket.
Rescuers have so far found 12 bodies in the waters off the popular destination of Phuket after a tourist boat sank in rough seas. Another 43 passengers are still missing.
Most of those who remain missing are believed to have been trapped on the boat, the Phoenix, as it went down. It was carrying 105 passengers, the majority of them Chinese, when it hit trouble as waves rapidly grew in size.
Five victims were found face down in the water still wearing their life jackets, several kilometres from the place where the boat sank during the storm on Thursday evening returning from a day trip. Some 48 passengers and crew were rescued.
Divers have been trying to reach the boat, which the Thai navy says is now 40 metres below the surface of the Andaman Sea, a few kilometres off the coast of the coral islet of Koh He, the news agency AFP reports.
Boats in a storm
An investigation has been ordered into why the boat was sailing, given that a weather warning of strong winds had been issued. It was not the only tourist vessel to have ignored the warning, with other boats in the area also needing emergency assistance, but all of the passengers on these boats were rescued.
Thailand’s resorts have a sketchy record when it comes to safety and accidents are common on the country’s roads and waterways, especially during the monsoon season which is now underway.