body found, may be last missing passenger in Phuket boat accident
A body which may be the last missing passenger on board the capsized tourist boat Phoenix in Thailand's Phuket was found on Wednesday afternoon, Thailand's Phuket Provincial Governor Norraphat Plodthong told a press conference at the command center for the search and rescue mission.
Rescuers search for the missing people at sea in Thailand on Wednesday, July 11, 2018. [Photo: IC]
Thai and Chinese rescuers found Chinese RMB cash and sea sickness pills on the body, and the body was in the same life jacket of other passengers on board Phoenix. Based on this, the body was assumed to be the last missing passenger in Phuket boat accident, Norraphat said.
As of 5:00 p.m. local time (1000 GMT) on Wednesday, 47 were confirmed dead in the boat accident, including a body still trapped by the boat's wreckage underwater, the governor said.
Ram Union rescue team from China, together with a Thai-Chinese rescue team called Blue Sea, told Chinese media that they found the body on Wednesday afternoon.
So far, 43 bodies have been confirmed to be Chinese tourists, while Thai authorities are identifying the rest, Norraphat said.
He also said Phuket will improve boat safety measures in the near future to assure there is no repeat of such tragedy.
Thai and Chinese rescue teams dived to check the sunken Phoenix on Wednesday, but their work was hampered by bad weather, Rear Admiral Charoenphol Koomrasee, deputy commander of the Third Fleet of the Royal Thai Navy, said during the press conference.
"We will resume to retrieve the body pressed by the boat to the seabed tomorrow if the weather let us to do so," Charoenphol added.
Two tourist boats, Phoenix and Serenata, were overturned in rough seas on July 5. All the passengers on board Serenata were rescued and all the victims were from Phoenix.
There were a total of 89 tourists on board Phoenix, 42 of them were rescued.
It was believed that all the 47 dead were Chinese tourists, as the only two non-Chinese tourists among the 89 passengers have been rescued. But further identification is needed.
Two Phuket fishermen also went missing on July 5 and both Norraphat and Charoenphol said they are looking for them as well.