One Dead, Israeli Girl Missing As Thai Ferry Burns, Sinks On Its Way To Phuket

BANGKOK, THAILAND – One passenger died while a 12-year-old was still missing as a tourist boat in Thailand caught fire, causing it to sink near in the Andaman Sea off Thailand’s southwestern coast, authorities said.

The missing girl was later identified as an Israeli national who was travelling with her family.

The tourist boat Ao Nang Princess 5, owned by Ao Nang Travel Tour Co, was carrying 117 passengers, including 107 adults and 10 children, when it left Koh Phi Phi towards Nopparatthara Beach near Ao Nang.

The vessel, however, caught fire at 3:30 p.m., said Police Col. Sompong Thip-apakul.

The incident prompted tourists to jump off the vessel to save themselves from the burning boat. Nearby boats went near the burning vessel to take passengers.

Ferry skipper Capt. Wirat said there was an explosion in the engine room, prompting him to order the passengers to put on their life jackets.

Krabi Marine Police, Krabi Marine Office, Nopparathara Park officers and 10 fishing and speed boats rushed to the scene and rescued passengers, taking them to Ao Nang, where rescue workers were waiting to ferry anyone injured to hospital.

The vessel burned to the waterline until it sank.

Divers were already searching for the missing girl near the site of the accident.

Authorities said a thorough investigation will be launched though it will not be an easy task because the vessel had sunk. –