Helicopters, divers deployed to search for capsized Thai boat victims hinh anh 1Thai rescue personnel carry a bag containing the recovered body of passenger of the capsized tourist boat. (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Bangkok (VNA) Helicopters and divers were deployed early on July 6 as the rescue mission resumed to search for missing people after a tourist boat capsized in rough seas off the island of Phuket, Thailand a day before.

Helicopters were dispatched to find those who may have drifted away from the boat while divers were sent to search inside the sunken boat, said Phuket governor Noraphat Plodthing.

The Phoenix boat was carrying at least 105 people, including 93 tourists and 12 tour guides, when it was pummelled by huge waves on the way back to Phuket from the popular snorkeling spot of Koh Racha, according to Thai authorities.

The boat was flooded and began to keel over at about 16:00 after it was hit by five-metre high waves, said the captain, Somjing Boontham. Life jackets were later handed out to passengers and inflatable life rafts deployed.

Rescuers have saved 51 people and pulled the body of a tourist from the sea while the 53 others remain missing as of 6:30am, July 6.

“Eleven are injured, of those two are in serious condition,” Noraphat added.

Meanwhile, the captain noted most of the tourists onboard were Chinese while two others were believed to be Westerners. According to the Chinese Consulate General in Songkhla, most of the Chinese tourists are employees of a company who were on a holiday trip with their families to Phuket.

A Chinese consular official has arrived in Phuket to monitor the rescue efforts.

The Phoenix was among several boats that appeared to have ignored a severe weather warning to take tourists on day-trips to islands off Phuket.

Another boat called Senerita also overturned in the same area yesterday with 39 European and Chinese tourists abroad. All of the passengers were rescued. –VNA