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THAILAND: 47 KILLED, ONE BODY REMAINS TRAPPED UNDERWATER IN PHUKET BOAT ACCIDENT

PHUKET, Thailand, July 13 (NNNXinhua) The number of the deceased now stands at 47 and a body remains trapped by the wreckage of the sunken tourist boat Phoenix in Thailand's Phuket, Norraphat Plodthong, governor of Phuket Province said Thursday at a press conference.

He said 45 bodies have been identified and one is undergoing the identification process.

Rear Admiral Charoenphol Koomrasee, deputy commander of the Third Fleet of the Royal Thai Navy, told media later in the day that the navy and Chinese rescue experts headed to the sunken ship early this morning to attempt to retrieve the remaining body from the wreckage but they suspended the work due to rough seas.

Charoenphol said they will continue the work tomorrow.

Pongpanu Svetarundra, permanent secretary of Thailand's Ministry of Tourism and Sports, introduced the plan of financial compensation for the victims and the injured.

Pongpanu said the Thai government will give 64 million baht (1.93 million U.S. dollars) as Foreign Tourist Fund in compensation to the victims of the Phuket boat accident.

Each deceased person will be compensated totaling 2.1 million baht.

For survivors, the Foreign Tourist Fund will cover the actual medical bills up to 500,000 baht per person.

For emotional distress, each tourist will be compensated up to 20,000 baht. Another 20,000 baht will be given to those whose travels were affected.

Police Major General Theerapol Thipcharoen, the Phuket Police Chief, said the police have interviewed approximately 100 witnesses so far to investigate the accident, and he vowed to get to the bottom of the case in order to reveal the truth of the accident.

He added that all the evidence they assemble after the investigation will be submitted to the court.

The Phuket governor said a travel application (in Thai, English, Chinese, and Russian) for Phuket tourism has been useful in collecting data since the tourists need to register and fill in their information and they are working for the app to be convenient for tourists.

Two tourist boats, Phoenix and Serenata, were overturned in rough seas on July 5. All the passengers on board Serenata were rescued and all the victims were from Phoenix.

There were a total of 89 tourists on board Phoenix, 42 of them were rescued.

It was believed that all the 47 dead were Chinese tourists, as the only two nonChinese tourists among the 89 passengers have been rescued. But further identification is needed.

Two Phuket fishermen also went missing on July 5 and both Norraphat and Charoenphol said they are looking for them as well. NNNXINHUA

Source: NAM News Network

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