Thailand cave rescue LIVE updates: Third phase of operation is underway, officials say: Reportedly, The death toll in the sinking of a tour boat off the Thai resort island of Phuket has climbed and reached to the 41, with 15 people missing from the nation. "I want to go ashore immediately", she said in another message, adding that her 12-year-old son, also on the boat, was feeling ill.
Rear Adm. Charoenpol Kumrasri, a deputy commander of the Thai navy who is leading the rescue effort, said his hopes that more survivors will be found were diminishing. Almost a dozen Chinese divers were taking part in the search.
The death toll from a boat accident near the Thai holiday island of Phuket surged to 21, officials said on Friday, as divers reported seeing multiple bodies inside the sunken hull of the Phoenix tourist vessel.
The bodies of nine Chinese tourists were being brought to Phuket, where authorities had already confirmed the death of another Chinese man.
Divers who entered the wreck of the tour boat Friday described heart-breaking scenes of bodies of children found in the arms of their mothers.
China's President Xi Jinping has called for an all-out search and rescue efforts for 23 missing tourists, majority Chinese, whose boat sank in a storm off the Thai tourist island of Phuket.
The boat, the Phoenix, was carrying almost 105 passengers in the Andaman Sea.
"Police are investigating the incident, the Phuket Marine Police said, adding that the boat was properly registered and had not been overloaded at the time of the accident.It went down about 7 km (5 miles) from shore and had sunk to a depth of about 38 to 40 metres (yards), the Royal Thai Marine Corps said in a statement earlier".
Severe weather in the area is expected until Tuesday, and Governor Norraphat Plodthong said Phuket officials had alerted the public about the storms. As of Sunday morning, 14 people were still missing. The reason for the discrepancy is not known.
Rescue workers respond to the boat accident in Phuket on Thursday night.
Jin Yilin, consul-general of the Chinese Embassy in Thailand, said a delegation from the Chinese Foreign Ministry was on the way to Thailand.
Thai media showed photos of people rescued from one of the boats in large rubber life rafts at sea, with fishing boats and churning water in the background.
Police attributed the cause of the incidents to strong sea currents and wind.
Thai PBS television reported late Thursday that 12 boats with 263 passengers in all had been forced by the weather to stay docked at Racha island, a popular diving spot about an hour's boat ride from Phuket.
Some 48 people passengers and crew were rescued from the Phoenix before the operation was suspended overnight.
Forty-three other passengers remain unaccounted for but are believed to have been trapped on the Phoenix, which sank as it was returning from a day trip from Phuket.