Death toll in Phuket Increases to 44 People

Death toll in Phuket Increases to 44 PeopleRescue workers returned to find three bodies of passengers on a sunken Phoenix resort near Phuket Island, Thailand last week. All three bodies have been removed from the Andaman Sea today.

The findings of the three bodies came as authorities and family relatives began to identify more than 40 people who were killed in the crash.

Phoenix tourist boat sank after being hit by a ferocious wave on Thursday (5/7) with 101 carrying people, including 89 tourists who are entirely from China except 2 people. A total of 12 crew from Thailand also on board the ship.

“Three more bodies were found, one was found near Phi Phi Island,” said Somnuek Prempramote, commander of Area 3 Navy to journalists on Phuket Island, a popular tourist destination off the west coast of Thailand.

So far, as many as 44 people have been confirmed dead, making this incident the worst tourist-related disaster in Thailand in years.

Somnuek said as reported by the AFP news agency on Tuesday (07/10/2010), there are 54 people who survived in this accident. Three others have yet to be found and search efforts will resume if weather conditions permit.

“The wind is strong enough,” Somnuek said, adding that plans to lift the sinking ship are still being considered.

“Regarding the appointment of the ship to see if there are bodies under it … this task needs to be assessed to see if it affects evidence in this case, we will continue to consider this option,” he added.

Meanwhile, Thai police said the Phoenix boat captain had been arrested on charges of negligence resulting in death. He denied the allegations.