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At least 21 dead, dozens missing after tourist boat sinks in Thailand

By Ray Downs
At least 21 dead, dozens missing after tourist boat sinks in Thailand
Rescued tourists are brought aboard a fishing boat in the seas off the coast of Phuket Island, southern Thailand, on Thursday. Photo by EPA-EFE/Royal Thai Navy

July 5 (UPI) -- At least 21 people died and dozens went missing Friday when a tourist boat capsized in rough seas off the coast of Thailand, officials said.

The vessel "Phoenix" was carrying 105 passengers, mostly Chinese tourists, Police Lt. Colonel Somsak Sophakarn told CNN.

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About 50 people had been rescued and taken ashore by mid-Friday. The bodies of at least 21 victims have been recovered so far. Thirty-five others are missing, officials said.

The dead were found drifting several miles from where the "Phoenix" sank and were wearing life jackets.

Rescue workers are continuing to search for the missing. Officials said the Thai Royal Navy is assisting in the rescue with divers and helicopters.

"I'm not really sure how many will survive," Phuket Gov. Noraphat Plodthong told reporters.

Seas were rough on Friday and a weather warning was issued, but that didn't deter several tourist boats and other sea vehicles.

Plodthong said there were three emergency incidents Friday and a total of 138 people in need of rescue, the Phuket News reported.

Another tourist boat carrying 39 people sunk off the southeast coast of Phuket. All survived.

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