Last body from Thai boat tragedy retrieved

Xinhua
A body that had been trapped under a boat that had gone down in southern Thailand two weeks ago was retrieved yesterday.
Xinhua

A body that had been trapped under a boat that had gone down in southern Thailand two weeks ago was retrieved yesterday, according to the local Phuket government and the Chinese Embassy in Thailand.

The body, the last to be retrieved after the tourist boat accident that claimed 47 lives, was brought to the surface after a nine-day joint operation between Chinese and Thai rescue forces with the help of five volunteer divers from various countries.

The body was retrieved at about 6:35pm local time, and would be transferred to a local hospital in Phuket for identification.

From the clothes and appearance, it is believed to be one of the 47 Chinese tourists who died after their boat capsized in Phuket waters on July 5, Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong said.

The Thai government has announced financial compensation for the victims and the injured.

Pongpanu Svetarundra, permanent secretary of Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports, said the Thai government will give 64 million baht (US$1.9 million) as Foreign Tourist Fund in compensation to the victims of the Phuket boat accident. The family of each deceased person will receive 2.1 million baht.

For survivors, the Foreign Tourist Fund will cover the actual medical bills up to 500,000 baht per person.

For emotional distress, each tourist will be compensated up to 20,000 baht. Another 20,000 baht will be given to those whose travels were affected.

Police Major General Theerapol Thipcharoen, the Phuket police chief, said the police have interviewed approximately 100 witnesses so far to investigate the accident, and he vowed to get to the bottom of the case in order to reveal the truth of the accident.

He added that all the evidence gathered from the investigation will be submitted to the court.

Two tourist boats, Phoenix and Serenata, overturned in rough seas in Phuket on July 5. All the 42 passengers on board Serenata were rescued. Forty-two tourists on board Phoenix were rescued but another 47, all Chinese tourists, died in the tragedy.


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