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41 Chinese confirmed dead in Thailand boat capsizing


Thai authorities on Sunday confirmed that 41 Chinese citizens including 13 children were killed after their tourist boat capsized in bad weather near Phuket, Thailand on Friday. 

The Xinhua News Agency  also reported that 14 passengers remain missing and a Thai citizen has been confirmed dead.

The Phoenix, with 105 passengers on board had allegedly been warned not to sail due to bad weather.  Another tourist boat, the Serenata, also capsized in the same area. The 42 passengers on that boat were rescued.    

Three Thai warships and two Chinese rescue teams on Sunday participated in rescue operations searching for survivors of the Phoenix.

Most passengers on the two boats were Chinese citizens, according to media reports. 

The captain of Hua Hin, one of the three Tai navy ships participating in the rescue, said on Sunday that 16 divers from the Thai Navy were checking the cabins of the Phoenix, which sank in waters 40 meters deep.

"If these divers can report there is no body inside the ship, we would bring the ship back to the surface," the captain said. 

The Thai authorities recovered five bodies in the Phoenix Saturday morning. Two Chinese rescue teams, working with Thai divers, found three bodies on Sunday afternoon, Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong told Xinhua. A ninth body was discovered but could not be recovered. 

Thai police are collecting information and evidence that could lead to charges of negligence against the captains of two boats, Xinhua reported on Sunday.

The owner of the Phoenix, Zhang Wenhao, was quoted by The Beijing News on Sunday as saying that he was busy with the rescue operation and he had not fled Thailand.

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