PHUKET — Divers on Thursday will attempt to retrieve the final victim lost when a boat foundered in rough seas one week ago in a disaster that has prompted calls for justice.
While recovery of the body pinned beneath the wreckage has frustrated divers for several days, the last two officially missing victims were located and retrieved yesterday near the popular Ko Phi Phi Don in Krabi province, according to a top regional navy commander. The death toll is confirmed at 47 people, and the tourist police deputy chief said five travel agency employees accused of being responsible have been criminally charged.
Maj. Gen. Surachet Hakpal said staff at four to five government agencies also face prosecution for negligence, adding that he would visit the site Saturday with experts to aid in the investigation.
The operation to recover the body from beneath the wreckage had to be suspended yesterday due to poor weather, said Vice Adm. Somnuek Prempramote, commander of the third naval area. He said the effort would resume as soon as conditions are favorable.
The double-decker Phoenix capsized July 5 off Phuket with 89 passengers on board, mostly Chinese tourists, after being hit by strong waves.
Surachet said he would assign the Marine Department to inspect such vessels and weekly reports on their seaworthiness as a precautionary measure.