Thailand tourist boat capsize: More bodies found; toll rises to 41
Bangkok, July 8: More bodies were recovered off Phuket resort island in Thailand on Saturday, July 7, pushing up the death toll in the capsize of tourist boat 'Phoenix' on Thursday, July 5, in one of the biggest tragedies in the history of the Southeast Asian country.
Fifteen people were still said to be missing after the boat sank because of bad weather conditions. At least 12 were being treated in hospital.
Rescue teams were preparing to lift the sunken boat on Sunday, July 8, Reuters reported.
The Phoenix was carrying 93 tourists, 11 crew and one tour guide when it was hit by a huge wave and it eventually capsized. Most of the foreign passengers in the boat were from China.
Chinese President Xi Jinping requested Thailand's foreign ministry and Chinese diplomats stationed in Thailand to speed up the rescue efforts.
Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong told the media on Saturday that two service counters were set up in Phuket airports to assist the victims' kin, Xinhua reported.
He also said that the government of Thailand will help the families of the victims prepare for the funerals and cooperate with those who wanted to take bodies of the deceased back home, the report added.
Meanwhile, police said on Saturday that they charged the captain of the boat with negligence, causing injuries and deaths besides damages. The captain, however, refuted them, Reuters added.
Officials also sought help from Phuket Tourist Association to provide 80 Chinese-language translators to help the rescued Chinese passengers at the provincial airport, VOA News reported.