Fatal boat disaster in Phuket highlights safety concerns

The cause of the accident off the coast of Phuket's Coral Island is still yet to be determined

While Thailand’s northernmost district of Mae Sai came under global attention for the ongoing rescue of 12 schoolboys and their coach trapped in a cave, Phuket in the south bore witness to a fatal boat disaster in the Andaman Sea.

The Phoenix, carrying 93 Chinese tourists and 12 Thai crew and tour guides, on Thursday capsized in rough waters off Koh Hei (Coral Island), south of Phuket.

The cause of the accident off the coast of Phuket’s Coral Island is still yet to be determined

So far, 49 people have been rescued, while 42 are confirmed dead and another 14 still missing, according to reports.

Officials have been ordered to start scouring the beaches at nearby islands and as far away as Koh Lanta and even Trang for bodies from the Phoenix boat disaster.

Questions have surfaced as to why the boat was at sea during bad weather, with both the Chinese and Thai governments pressing for a quick investigation of the cause of the accident.

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor Yuthasak Supasorn issued a statement about the boat incidents in Phuket, saying that TAT would heighten safety measures for Chinese tourists in Thailand to prevent such events from occurring again in the future.

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