Phuket tour boats overturn in storm, rescue mission launched

Two other separate boat capsizes were reported in the same area Thursday evening.

Rescue operations are underway to recover more than 120 tourists, including many children, in danger after the tour boats were struck by the storm that hit Phuket late this afternoon (July 5).

The island of Phuket - known for its beaches and luxurious resorts - is one of Thailand's most popular tourist destinations. "We have sent boats to help", Rear Admiral Somnuk Prempramote, commander of the Royal Thai Navy Region 3, said on Thursday.

"They were all wearing life jackets."

A police official had earlier said 90 people had been rescued from the boat and just seven were missing.

Shocked home owner films bear relaxing in hot tub, drinking margarita
Bears have been frequently filmed romping around the community that straddles city and wilderness. The bear lowered itself into the hot tub and proceeded to have the time of its life .

The governor of southern Phuket, Noraphat Plodthong, said 49 people - over half of the passengers - were still "being helped" as rescue boats rushed to the scene. The images also showed survivors being lifted from the rafts and sitting in lifejackets, amid ropes on the deck of what appeared to be a fishing trawler.

The second boat, the Serenita, had almost 40 passengers on board, Sophakarn said. The reason for the discrepancy was not immediately clear.

"All agencies are co-operating in their search at this time", Norraphat said.

He said officials would consider whether to ban boats from going to sea during strong winds. However, at last report that the rescue teams were finding it hard to carry out the rescue with darkness falling and the strong wind and waves continuing.

Thailand is already in the global spotlight for a dramatic rescue mission in the north of the country, after 12 boys and their football coach were trapped in a cave complex.

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