Search suspended as death toll rises to 32
Search for the missing passengers of the sunken Phoenix dive boat was called off Friday night as death toll has risen to 32, mostly Chinese tourists.
Rear Admiral Charoenphol Koomrasee, deputy commander of the Third Fleet of the Royal Thai Navy, said Friday that poor weather condition and darkness made search impossible, but the search operation would resume at 5 am on Saturday to look for the remaining 23 missing.
He said that officials, with the help of a ship equipped with a crane, a naval ship and 2-3 fishing trawlers, would try tomorrow to salvage the sunken Phoenix dive boat.
Several Chinese tourists were trapped in the sunken boat and drowned.
Phuket deputy governor Sanit Srivihok said forensic police from the Royal Thai Police were due to arrive in Phuket Friday night to help in identifying the victims.
He, however, said that officials would have to consult with the hospital whether it would be possible for the hospital to be used for the identification process or the venue for the identification process should be shifted to the Muang district police station where a container would be made available for identification purpose after which the bodies can be claimed by their relatives to be brought back for funeral.