Sunday 23 October 2016

Death toll rises to 18 as boat capsizes near popular tourist destination in Thailand

Published 18/09/2016 | 13:20

Rescue teams have recovered 18 bodies and are continuing to look for 12 people missing from a boat that sank in a river in Thailand over the weekend, officials said.

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The accident took place on the Chao Phraya river in Ayutthaya, a UNESCO World Heritage site located some 80 kms (43 miles) north of the Thai capital Bangkok.

In addition to the dead and missing, 44 people were injured.

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 told Reuters.

The accident on Sunday comes as Thailand expects to welcome some 33 million visitors this year, a record. 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, nor have a series of bomb blasts in southern Thailand had an impact.

One of the attacks on August 11 and 12 left four Thai people dead and dozens injured, including foreigners. Police have blamed the bombings on Malay Muslim insurgents operating in Thailand's far south.

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