Phuket ships carrying more than 130 tourists sink with at least seven missing

Two ships carrying more than 130 tourists have sank off Thailand with at least seven people missing, according to local reports.

Ambulances are waiting for survivors at Chalong pier at the south of the country where a rescue centre has been set up.

Photos of people rescued from one of the boats in large rubber liferafts at sea have been published by Thai media.

One of the vessels – reportedly returning to Phuket from Koh Racha – was carrying 90 passengers when it overturned.

The two incidents are not thought to have been related but both are believed to be due to rough seas and high winds.

Most of the tourists are reported to be from China, Taiwan and Russia.

Local police commander Teerapol Tipcharoen said that at least seven people were unaccounted for, but the rescue operation is ongoing.

Officials had earlier issued a warning of severe weather until next Tuesday, including heavy rain and strong winds.

The severe weather is said to be hampering rescue efforts with darkness also falling in the area.

The Royal Thai Navy has deployed rescue vessels from the Third Area Command at Cape Panwa, on Phuket’s east coast, the report added.

One of the ships had 97 on board with the other having between 30 and 40.

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