12 die after boat capsizes in Thailand

Rescuers helping survivors after a boat accident yesterday on the Chao Phraya River in Ayutthaya. The ferry had been carrying 150 Muslim Thai passengers who were returning from a religious trip. At least 12 people were killed and dozens injured. Sear
Rescuers helping survivors after a boat accident yesterday on the Chao Phraya River in Ayutthaya. The ferry had been carrying 150 Muslim Thai passengers who were returning from a religious trip. At least 12 people were killed and dozens injured. Search and rescue operations continued into the night for the many passengers who are still missing.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

BANGKOK • At least 12 people have died and dozens are missing in Thailand after a boat carrying 150 Muslim Thais capsized in the ancient tourist city of Ayutthaya, officials said yesterday.

The accident took place on the Chao Phraya River in Ayutthaya, a Unesco World Heritage site located some 80km north of the Thai capital Bangkok.

At least 37 were injured and many were still missing as rescue workers continued to search for survivors into the night. Seven women, four men and one boy have died, according to Mr Rewat Prasong, deputy governor of Ayutthaya province.

The passengers were on their way back from a religious activity when the double-decker boat hit the bank of the river before sinking, district chief Suchon Phaitirat said.

The accident yesterday comes as Thailand expects to welcome some 33 million visitors this year. Road and boat accidents involving tourists are common in Thailand where safety standards are sometimes well below international norms.

But such accidents barely make a dent on Thailand's tourism industry, one of the few bright spots in an otherwise lacklustre economy. A series of bomb blasts in southern Thailand have also not had an impact.

One of the attacks on Aug 11 and 12 left four Thai people dead and dozens injured, including foreigners.

Police have blamed the bombings on Muslim Malay insurgents operating in Thailand's far south.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 19, 2016, with the headline '12 die after boat capsizes in Thailand'. Print Edition | Subscribe