A boat, carrying at least 105 people, was pummelled by huge waves as it returned to Phuket from Koh Racha. (Photo: Phuket Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation)

Bangkok (VNA)
– As of 6:30am on July 6, one person has been found dead and 53 others remain missing after a tourist boat capsized in high winds and rough seas off the tourist island of Phuket, Thailand on July 5.

Search and rescue efforts resumed on the morning of July 6 after they were suspended as night fell on the island together with bad weather conditions.

The Phoenix boat, carrying at least 105 people, including 93 tourists and 12 tour guides, was pummelled by huge waves as it returned to Phuket from Koh Racha, according to Thai authorities.

Rescuers have saved 51 people and pulled the body of a tourist from the sea.

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.

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 relief operation centre has been set up at Chalong Bay as rescue forces have been deploying resources to search for survivors and bodies. However, strong winds and high waves continue to hamper the efforts.

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