49 Possibly Missing as Rough Seas Overturn Boats in South

Rescue workers respond to the boat accident in Phuket on July 6.

PHUKET — Rough seas overturned two boats carrying more than 130 tourists in the Andaman Sea off southern Thailand on Thursday evening, and at least seven people were missing, police said.

Ninety people were rescued from one boat carrying mostly Chinese tourists but seven were still unaccounted for, said Maj. Gen. Teerapol Tipcharoen, commander of provincial police on the tourist island of Phuket.

Thai Channel 7, however, reported 48 people were saved and 49 were missing. The reason for the discrepancy was not immediately clear.

The 39 Chinese and European tourists forced to abandon a second boat were rescued and have returned to land, Teerapol said.

Thai media showed photos of people rescued from one of the boats in large rubber liferafts at sea, with fishing boats and churning water in the background.

The accidents were not reported to be related.
Phuket officials had earlier issued a warning of severe weather until next Tuesday, including heavy rain and winds.