THAI police said yesterday they have charged two captains with negligence after two boats capsized in the sea on Thursday, leaving 42 dead and 14 still missing in south Thailand.
Local police said the captain of boat Phoenix had been charged with negligence causing deaths and the captain of boat Serenita had been charged with negligence causing physical and mental damage to others.
Both Phoenix and Serenita were overturned in rough seas off the coast of Phuket Island on Thursday afternoon with more than 130 tourists and crew on board, among whom 127 were Chinese.
Phuket provincial governor Norraphat Plodthong confirmed that all the dead and missing passengers were Chinese.
All the passengers from Serenita were rescued.
At a joint press conference held at Chalong Pier on the island yesterday, Police Major General Theerapol Thipcharoen, the Phuket police chief, said the authority had summoned the two captains for further investigation on the cause of the accident.
Thai Minister of Tourism and Sports Weerasak Kowsurat said the Thai government had paid high attention to the rescue and other work for the accident.
The government will not give up searching the missing passengers and will not tolerate anyone accountable for legal responsibilities.
According to Lu Jian, Chinese ambassador to Thailand, Chinese staff will join in Thai authorities’ investigation on the cause of the accident.
The ambassador also asked the Thai government to improve tourism environment and management in order to further strengthen China-Thailand tourism cooperation in the future.
Two rescue teams from China joined Thai military yesterday to search for the missing.
According to the governor, rescue teams of both countries conducted underwater search for the missing around the sunken Phoenix. Thai navy and air force searched on the surface of the water and in the air.
To help family members of the dead and injured with aftercare issues, local government has set up liaison stations in Phuket international airport, Phuket Provincial Administration Organization Hospital and Vachira Phuket Hospital.
A service center was also set up at Phuket provincial government office.
So far more than 50 Chinese have arrived in Phuket to identify their family members who died in the accident and take care of their injured family members.