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Search continues today for survivors. 23 remain missing.

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Search continues today for survivors. 23 remain missing. | The Thaiger
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With the body count numbers still in flux, as the recovery mission continues, the Phuket PR Office says the official death toll is 33 tourists that have died with dozens still missing.

Strong winds and high waves sunk the dive yacht Phoenix, packed with mainly Chinese visitors, late on Thursday afternoon when a weather front came in from the Andaman Sea.

Phuket’s Governor Norapat Plodthong says rescuers have retrieved at least 32 bodies from the waters between Koh Hei and Koh Maiton while 23 others are still missing. 49 people were rescued.

Many victims of the accident drowned despite wearing life jackets. Many were found floating face-down – a situation life-jackets are meant to prevent. The main focus is still on the sunken Phoenix yacht wreck. Whilst the rescue operations were suspended last night they resumed again this morning at 5am.

The Phoenix was carrying 93 passengers and 12 crew members, was operating near Koh Hei as part of a snorkelling and swimming trip, when the incident happened.

Vessels from the Royal Thai Navy, coastal patrol units and private-owned boats were deployed to help comb the area for missing passengers. Scores of divers were assigned to check the sunken Phoenix yesterday in a mission that was considered a body recovery mission, not a rescue mission.

Search continues today for survivors. 23 remain missing. | News by The Thaiger

Searching will continue today, focussed on the Phoenix, as well as combing the sea at a radius of 10 kilometres around the accident.

Rear Admiral Charoenpon Kumrasee said that Navy divers had gone down to the vessel and entered one room yesterday

“In that room, the divers found about 10 dead passengers stuck inside. However it was difficult to retrieve them as the ship is about 40 metres underwater. The first batch of divers spent about 45 minutes there and the second batch followed for an additional search,” Charoenpon said.

Search continues today for survivors. 23 remain missing. | News by The Thaiger

Kanokkittika Krittawuttikorn, director of Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Phuket office, said she is collecting information to report to Beijing who will advise the passengers’ families. Some of the surviving tourists were still being treated in Vachira and Mission Hospitals last night while others were sent home.

The hospitals put out a call yesterday for Chinese translators to assist with communicating with the many patients that had been brought to the hospital after their rescue.

The Senereta was the second vessel that sunk on Thursday evening. It was carrying 149 passengers and sunk although no one died in the incident.

Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat said that the families of the victims of the boat accident would get 300,000 baht from the government. The ministry has a fund to compensate the families of tourists injured or killed in accidents. Those injured would receive up to 500,000 baht each towards medical bills.Weerasak said the ministry has set up a coordination centre for efforts to help surviving tourists.

Weerasak said the Phoenix has a licence issued to the TC Blue Dream Company and the business has bought insurance for passengers. He said each dead victim’s family would receive 1 million baht in compensation from the insurance policy while those injured would receive 500,000 baht.

As a preliminary act, police have notified the captain of the Phoenix of pending charges of being reckless, causing an accident that injured and killed others. The captain was recovered, along with other passengers, from a liferaft late on Thursday afternoon.

Search continues today for survivors. 23 remain missing. | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: The ‘Phoenix’ was being used for dive and swimming trips. Photo taken before the sinking.

SOURCES: The Nation, The Thaiger

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Thailand

Thailand News Today – Friday, May 29

The Thaiger

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Thailand News Today – Friday, May 29 | The Thaiger

Thailand Covid-19 figures

11 new cases of Covid-19 virus in Thailand, same as yesterday. Of the number, all were reported as imported cases coming from Kuwait.

All were Thai nationals returning from overseas and have been placed into a mandatory 14 day state quarantine. For the 4th day in a row, Thailand has announced zero locally transmitted cases.

Radio station gunman confesses, faces murder charges, death penalty

The gunman who allegedly shot 3 of his coworkers at a public radio station is facing murder charges and the death penalty if convicted.

The 59 year old was an electrician and TX technician at the station. He apparently lashed out after problems with his coworkers at the National Broadcasting Services of Thailand in the northern Phitsanulok province. Amongst those killed were the station manager and fellow technicians at the station. Police say he brought two guns to the station to commit the crime.

Pattaya curfew breaker drowns

A 41 year old Thai man in Pattaya has drowned, apparently attempting to avoid arrest for breaking Thailand’s national curfew.

He was pronounced dead after being found by local fishermen floating off the shore of Pattaya Beach yesterday. Pattaya City Police were notified of the incident near the Bali Hai Pier around noon.

A relative told police that the went out at about at 3am for squid fishing, knowing that he was breaking the curfew. It’s been speculated that he was afraid of being arrested and fined, so he jumped into the water to hide and subsequently drowned.

Haunted hospital wheelchair. Ghost? Or the wind?

An empty wheelchair at an Udon Thani Thailand hospital, moving all by itself, has some locals claiming it could be a mischievous ghost.

Now, the hospital is even planning a prayer event to honour the wheelchair’s deceased owner to put the spirit at peace.

Footage of the supposedly haunted wheelchair has done the rounds on the internet. Some of the hospital staff believe it was the ghost of its former owner who died at the hospital, moving the wheelchair around.

Other, more sceptical viewers, say it might have been the wind. Meanwhile a Buddhist ceremony is being organised and the wheelchair’s brakes checked.

Thai Airways can’t refund 24 billion baht in unused tickets

Thai Airways’ recent declaration of bankruptcy and debt rehabilitation has left many holders of unused tickets up in the air.

The carrier grounded its fleet in early April, and now claims that they’re unable to refund tickets purchased since. The value of these tickets is estimated to be around 24 billion baht.

But the airline does promises to return the money within 6 months. Ticket holders may also change the dates of flights as well without penalty fees.

The national carrier has announced on its website that it will resume operations in July, as borders slowly begin to reopen and passengers start returning. But the CAAT has the borders closed to international flights until at least the end of June and the arrangements for foreign flights into Thailand after that time are yet to be announced.

First female doctor in Thailand celebrated by Google

If you do any search on Google today you’ll see a graphic of a doctor holding a baby. The image is of Thailand’s first female doctor, Margaret Lin Xavier, and today marks her 122nd birthday.

Xavier was an expert in obstetrics and gynaecology. She opened a private clinic with her sister who was a pharmacist. Many times she would treat women for free who couldn’t afford care as well as sex workers.

She studied over seas but moved back to Thailand in 1924 when she was 26 years old and started working as an obstetrician at the Thai Red Cross and Chulalongkorn Hospital. She was the first Thai woman to earn a medical degree and practice in the country.

Although she died in 1932 due to encephalitis, her work opened the door for women in the medical field.

The Thaiger salutes this pioneer in Thai obstetrics and gynaecology, Margaret Lin Xavier.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid task force orders strict hygiene measures for Bangkok construction sites

Maya Taylor

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Covid task force orders strict hygiene measures for Bangkok construction sites | The Thaiger
PHOTO: 123rf.com

The Bangkok Metropolitan Authority has been ordered to implement tough hygiene and safety measures at construction sites in the capital, to prevent any resurgence of the Covid-19 virus. The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration says the city must take rigorous steps to mitigate the risk of workers contracting and spreading the virus.

A report in Nation Thailand says city officials are fully prepared to comply with the order, with BMA permanent secretary Silapasuay Raweesangsoon saying instructions on the strict hygiene protocols have already been communicated to all district offices.

“Since April, BMA has ordered all district offices to employ measures at construction sites to prevent the outbreak, which include screening of personnel before entering the area, providing alcohol gel and face masks, cleaning the areas after work, separating personal items and maintaining social distancing practice.”

“To comply with the CCSA, the BMA has sent health officials to perform aggressive tests on construction workers that are at high-risk, like those who come from neighbouring countries or provinces.”

Her statement comes as central Thailand prepares for the return of thousands of migrant workers from Myanmar in the coming month. The government has already said employers are responsible for quarantining their workers for the required 14 days, as well as providing them with masks and hand sanitiser, and carrying out regular health checks.

Covid task force orders strict hygiene measures for Bangkok construction sites | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Silapasuay says thousands of construction workers in Bangkok have already been tested for the virus. Bosses at construction sites are also asked to check the health of their employees regularly, both at their workplace and their accommodation.

“We have already tested 49,728 workers, while we aim to increase this number further to ensure safety at all construction sites in Bangkok.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Crime

Taxi driver attacked and stabbed after accident in Bangkok

Caitlin Ashworth

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Taxi driver attacked and stabbed after accident in Bangkok | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Amarin TV

A motorbike driver attacked a taxi driver on Wednesday this week after an accident by taking off his helmet and repeatedly hitting the driver with it before stabbing him with a screwdriver.

A witness says the motorbike cut in front of the taxi on Phet Kasem Road, or Highway 4, in Bangkok, but the taxi couldn’t stop in time and ran into the motorbike, Thai media reports. When the taxi driver stepped out to look at the damage, the motorbike driver took off his helmet and attacked him. Then he took out a screwdriver and stabbed the taxi driver. When people ran up to help, the motorbike driver hopped on his bike and drove off.

The witness took photos of the accident and shared it on Facebook. Yesterday, the motorbike driver turned himself into the Phet Kasem Police and was charged with reckless driving and causing physical and mental harm.

SOURCE: Thai Residents

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