Dozens of tourists missing after boat overturns off Thailand shore

Image      Phuket in southern Thailand is a hot-spot for tourists

Image Phuket in southern Thailand is a hot-spot for tourists

Rescued tourists from a boat that sank are helped onto a pier on Thursday.

"The Phuket Marine Office has announced that any boat less than 10 metres long, which was planning to travel to Phi Phi Island and Racha Island today, is not allowed to leave ports".

One man died and dozens of Chinese tourists remain missing after a boat capsized as high winds whipped up rough seas off the Thai island of Phuket, officials said late yesterday, confirming the rescue had been suspended for the night.

Police Lt. Colonel Somsak Sophakarn, the deputy chief of Phuket's Chalong Provincial Police Station, said one of the boats, the Phoenix PC Diving boat, had some 90 passengers on board, most of whom were Chinese tourists.

Thai media showed photos of rescued people in large rubber life rafts at sea, with fishing boats and churning water in the background.

In a separate incident in the same area, another boat carrying 39 people - reportedly Chinese and European tourists - also capsized.

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While being rescued , the woman was aggressive initially, but the police was able to build rapport with her after a few while. The woman, who was alone, has given "no indication" of why she was climbing the statue, Somma said .

The boat was one of three to encounter difficulties at sea in the area on Thursday, the navy said. "We have sent boats to help", said Rear Admiral Somnuk Prempramote, commander of the Royal Thai Navy Region 3.

"They were all wearing life jackets", he added.

Phuket is a magnet for overseas visitors including Western sun-seekers and Chinese tourists who will make up the bulk of the 35 million people expected to visit the kingdom this year.

Phuket officials had earlier issued a warning of severe weather until Tuesday, including heavy rain and winds.

Thailand is already in the global spotlight for a dramatic rescue mission in the north of the country, after 12 boys and their football coach were trapped in a cave complex.

"Around 70 of the passengers were rescued and taken safely to the shore", he said, requesting not to be named. They said a rescue operation was underway to find the missing 56.

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