How freak wave capsized Thai tourist ship killing at least 44

A new animation shows how 44 people on board a luxury tourist boat were killed near Thailand’s holiday island of Phuket last week.

The Phoenix tourist boat, carrying 101 people including 87 Chinese tourists, went down in rough seas on Thursday during an outing to a small island.

Forty-four people have been confirmed dead, officials said on Tuesday, making it Thailand’s worst tourist-related disaster in years and underscoring safety concerns about the industry.

On Wednesday, Reuters news agency shared a video graphic depicting how the ship capsized after it was engulfed by a 16-foot-wave.

It’s understood a 16-foot wave capsized the tourist boat, killing at least 44 people. Source: Reuters

Divers sent to check on the sunken vessel found that many of the deceased had been trapped in the lower level.

Fifty-four people survived the crash, with authorities confirming that they will continue the search for three missing people if weather permits.

“The wind is quite strong,” said Somnuek, adding that plans to lift the sunken vessel were on hold.

“On moving the boat to see whether there are bodies underneath … this task will need to be assessed to see if it affects evidence in this case. We will continue to consider this option,” he said.

A team of volunteers made up of Chinese rescue experts and divers from a Thai diving centre emerge from the water after a search on the fourth day of the rescue operation of a capsized tourist boat Phoenix on July 8. Source: Getty
Rescuers survey the sea on the fourth day of rescue operation. Source: Getty

The captain of the Phoenix has been charged with negligence causing death, police said.

He has denied the charges.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha visited Phuket on Thursday and comforted some of the relatives.

Two other boats capsized in the same area on Thursday but their passengers were brought safely to shore.