Survivors of the sunken tourist boat Phoenix (Source: Xinhua/VNA)

Bangkok (VNA) - Thailand's authorities said on July 8 that rescuers are preparing to lift tourist boat Phoenix which capsized off the coast of Phuket island three days ago, killing at least 42 people and leaving 14 others missing. 

The boat was carrying 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.

Police on July 7 said they charged the ship’s captain with negligence leading to damages, injury and death. The captain has denied the charges, police said.

Divers and helicopters have joined the search for any survivors. Friends and relatives of those injured and deceased have arrived in Phuket to identify their loved ones. 

In an urgent circular issued on July 7, China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism said travel companies across China should carry out security checks against hidden risks to ensure travel safety during the summer period. It also stressed the importance of researching online travel companies when booking overseas trips. Many of the tourists involved in the Phuket accident booked their trips independently via online tourism platforms, the ministry said.

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 capsized in the same area on July 5 with 39 European and Chinese tourists abroad. All of the passengers were rescued.-VNA