Their bodies were found trapped inside the ill-fated boat by rescuers at about 11:30pm. They were identified as Siwakrit Sarawit, Thichaya Methamongkol, Jandara Thapchan, Thapanee Worawatanakul and Sumasana Suthanurak.
Mr Siwakrit was said to be a diving teacher.
Police were alerted about 9pm that the Chok Thara 2 had sunk near Koh Kalok, about 16 kilometres from shore. The boat carried three crew and 13 Thai passengers. Rescuers went to the scene in patrol boats.
“The Chok Thara 2 was travelling around Koh Ngam-Kho Kalok in the Gulf of Chumphon when it encountered a severe storm. The boat’s captain tried to steer the vessel to safety near the islands, but did not succeed,” Chumphon Governor Narong Polla-iad said.
On arrival, rescuers pulled 11 people out of the water to safety. The search continued for the five missing people, but was made difficult by the dark, stormy conditions, the governor said.
He said the boat’s captain had been careless of the warning issued by provincial authorities not to venture out to sea during a storm. The victims had not been wearing life vests.
One of the survivors, Natthat Wongthonglua, was taken to shore for treatment after he developed a severe chest pain. The rest volunteered to help with the rescue operation.
Prasan Sithisawaeng, a tourist boat operator in tambon Tha Yang of Chumphon’s Muang district, said he picked up a phone call from the Chok Thara 2’s captain, who said the boat’s engine had stalled and could not be restarted. Another boat was sent out to tow it back to shore.
The distressed boat was swamped by the storm waves and sank before before the tow boat could reach it.
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