Family of Thailand boat disaster victims seeks ‘justice’

Family of Thailand boat disaster victims seeks ‘justice’

Family of Thailand boat disaster victims seeks ‘justice’

A Thai Tourist Police boat prepares to dock at Chalong pier in Phuket on Jul 6, 2018, as rescue operations continue nearby for missing tourists following a boating accident on Jul 5.

Numerous dead were found drifting face down in the water, still wearing life jackets, several kilometers from where the three-decker vessel Phoenix sank after being hit by five-meter (15-foot) high waves in a storm on Thursday evening, Agence France-Presse reported.

Thai officials didn't confirm the number of deaths in their latest press conference, but a government site is still reporting at least 40 dead and there are conflicting numbers in media reports.

"The mission will go on", he added.

Navy official Narong Aurabhakdi says some of the bodies were found by divers who entered the wreck Friday and others were floating in the water.

"The skies were clear when we went out, we had no idea the weather could change so fast", said Wu Jun, 28, who was at his wife Long Hai Ning's side at the hospital.

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An initial report said all of the passengers were pulled from the sea alive but the official who spoke to AFP could not provide any further information.

Tourism is a key driver of growth in Southeast Asia's second-largest economy, making up 12% of gross domestic product, and the most foreign visitors come from China.

Many tour operators have complained about lax enforcement of basic safety measures, such as seatbelts in cars and lifejackets on boats.More than 20 people were killed when a tourist boat carrying 150 people capsized in Thailand's ancient city of Ayutthaya in 2016.

Ambulances unloaded bodies at the hospital on Phuket's east coast that received most of the casualties, as staff escorted visibly distressed family members to a waiting room.

Helicopters continued to scan the water Friday afternoon in what appeared to be an increasingly forlorn hunt for survivors.

"I assume they are trapped inside the boat. but I wish some of them have survived", Phuket governor Noraphat Plodthong told reporters.

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Narongsak said he's not sure if the five people remaining in the cave will be extracted in one or more operations.

Police have said they may file negligence charges soon against the captain of the boat.

Some have called for legal action to be taken after the boat was among three that ignored a bad weather warning against day trips to the islands surrounding the tourist magnet of Phuket.

A delegation of Chinese investigators and other officials soon to arrive in Phuket are to be given full support and cooperation, he added.

Chinese Ambassador Lyu Jian also had an "emergency conversation" by phone with Thai Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, the Chinese Embassy said in a statement. One Chinese male passenger has been confirmed dead and at least 12 people hospitalized.

Rescued tourists from a boat that sank are helped onto a pier on the island of Phuket, southern Thailand.

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