The Phoenix dive boat ran into trouble yesterday (July 5), when it was hammered by five-metre high waves that had been whipped up by a storm.
The boat, which had left Koh Racha to return to Phuket, was carrying 105 passengers, the majority Chinese tourists.
The body of one of the passengers, believed to be Chinese, was pulled from the sea late yesterday and brought to shore, shortly before the search was called off for the night.
Helicopters, police and fishing boats were deployed early today (July 6) as the rescue mission restarted.
“We will conduct air searches and send divers to check inside the sunken Phoenix boat,” Governor Norraphat Plodthong said.
“Police investigators said most of the tourists were wearing life jackets,” when the boat went down, he added.
Stunned survivors of the boat accident huddled in blankets at Chalong Pier late yesterday.
Some cried while others appeared dazed as they walked around still wearing their life vests.
“Eleven are injured, of these two are in serious condition,” Governor Norraphat added.
The Phoenix was among several boats that appeared to have ignored a severe weather warning in place since Wednesday (July 4) to take tourists on day-trips to the islands that dot the seas off Phuket.
A Chinese consular official arrived at the operations centre in Phuket to monitor the rescue effort.
Several other vessels hit trouble late yesterday. Initial reports from officials said all of the passengers on those boats were rescued.
But as details dripped through overnight, Governor Norraphat said two passengers were still unaccounted for from another stricken ship.