Chinese Ambassador to Thailand Lyu Jian (center and left) listens as Thailand's Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat (center and right) speaks in the press about the Thai boat sinking at the disaster operations command center set up at the Phuket Marine Office at Chalong Pier on July 8. (Photo: Zhang Zhiwen)
A total of 42 people, including 41 Chinese tourists, 13 of them children, were confirmed dead on Sunday in the Thai boat tragedy off Phuket island. 'Phoenix Diving' was carrying 105 passengers when it capsized in choppy waters.
Phuket governor Noraphat Plodthong verified that the 41 bodies recovered all belong to Chinese nationals, with 15 still missing.
Rescue work has been going on for the last 60 hours. Guangzhou Salvage Rescue team and experts from China's Zhejiang Rescue Team of Ramunion, a local civil rescue organization, were given permission by Thailand's military to start search operations for missing tourists Sunday morning, with help of devices including air compressors and tanks they brought from China.
Thai police has held the the captain of the 'Phoenix' responsible for the incident. The skipper denies it. Further investigation is underway.
Noraphat said the boat was registered and had not been overloaded.