Thai rescuers deployed helicopters on Friday in a search for 29 people missing after the sinking of a boat carrying Chinese tourists, with one official saying he feared "no chance" of any more survivors, which would mean a death toll of almost 60.
Divers on a rubber raft retrieve a body during a search operation in the water off Phuket, Thailand, Friday, July 6, 2018.
Thai Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon ordered an investigation into why "the boat went to sea", despite a strong wind warning.
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. The previous announced death toll was 33, with authorities saying all were Chinese.
Family members of passengers onboard a capsized tourist boat carry out registration upon their arrival at the Vachira Phuket Hospital on July 7 in Phuket, Thailand.
The Phoenix with 105 people on aboard, a lot of them Chinese tourists, was hit by giant waves and sank on Thursday on its way back from Koh Racha to a Phuket pier. The incident sparked a rescue attempt that took place in the dark.
Norraphat said eight bodies were recovered Saturday.
A scene of horror in the hull of a sunken boat: mothers still holding babies, their bodies suspended in water as the lower lounge of the Phoenix became a tomb in one of Thailand's worst ever sea disasters.
The Thai navy said the Phoenix had sunk 40 metres below the surface, a few kilometres off the coast of Koh He, an islet known for its coral formations and popular with day-trippers from Phuket.
A navy official, Rear Adm. Charoenpol Kumrasri, told reporters that there were no more bodies inside the wreck.
Thai Navy officials help the tourists.
A search has resumed for some 23 missing tourists on a boat that sank during a storm off the southern resort island of Phuket.
According to the Chinese Consulate-General in Songkhla, 78 Chinese tourists have been rescued following the tragic accident.
Rescued tourists from a boat that sank rest on a pier on the island of Phuket, southern Thailand.
The bodies of some of the dead were found floating face down in the water, still wearing life jackets, several miles from where the boat sank.
Thailand is already in the global spotlight as a multinational effort to rescue 12 schoolboys and their soccer coach trapped for days in a northern mountain cave picks up pace.
All 39 passengers in the second boat have been rescued.
"Eleven are injured, of these two are in serious condition", the governor added.
He said department officials have been instructed to provide full cooperation for the search and rescue operation.
Several other vessels hit trouble late Thursday.
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