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Phoenix Dive Boat Sinks Off the Shores of Phuket Leaving 21 Dead and 35 Missing

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PHUKET – Rear Adm Charoenphon Khumrasee, deputy commander of the Third Naval Area, has told a press briefing that authorities are opening an investigation and will take action against those found responsible for the capsizing of a boat filled with Chinese tourists, which has resulted in 21 deaths with 35 people still missing.

There were 105 people on board the Phoenix when it capsized in stormy seas at Laem Mong off Koh Hae in tambon Rawai on Thursday evening. Most of the passengers were Chinese nationals. One passenger was Russian.

Rear Adm Charoenphon Khumrasee, said the navy dispatched 37 divers to scour the wreckage of the Phoenix. At least 20 passengers were believed to have been trapped inside, he said after meeting with the governor and others to review the situation.

Phuket governor Norapat Plodthong said on Friday afternoon that 49 people had been safely pulled from the sea, and divers and rescue teams continued to search for the missing people.

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Many of the bodies recovered were found trapped inside the capsized boat which was carrying 105 passengers when it sank in the Andaman Sea off the island popular with Chinese tourists.

Fifteen bodies and one injured passenger have been sent to Vachira Phuket Hospital.

Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat said initial checks found that most Chinese tourists on board the boat were independent travelers who had bought tour packages from online tour agencies. He has assigned his deputy Santi Pawai to go to Phuket to provide assistance to tourists and coordinate follow-up work with other agencies.

Pongpanu Svetarundra, permanent secretary for tourism, said the ministry’s remedy fund would provide compensation to affected tourists in case of deaths, losses of organs, eyesight or and disability. They would be entitled to compensation payments of one million baht each and medical payments of up to 500,000 baht.

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rescue teams, employing helicopters, patrol and fishing boats are searching for the remaining missing tourists but there was little sign that they would be found alive


Affected tourists would also be entitled to compensation under insurance policies taken out by boat operators and tour firms.

The Phoenix was insured with Bangkok Insurance Public Co, said Mr Pongpanu.

The Tourist Police Bureau and the Department of Tourism would investigate to see if tour firms violated any rules that resulted in deaths and injuries, he added.

Panas Theerawanitkul, an executive of Bangkok Insurance, confirmed that T.C. Blue Dream Co, which operated the Phoenix, was insured by his firm.

The firm would provide one million baht in compensation to each victim’s family in case of death and 500,000 baht each to injured victim for medical treatment. Staff would be sent to the hospital where the victims are being treated and compensation would be expedited for all victims, he said.

Source: Thai PBS, Bangkok Post

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