177 tourists, hotel employees rescued from stormy sea off Thailand's Phuket island
Some 161 foreign visitors and 16 Thai hotel employees were safely rescued from Koh Racha islands off the southeastern coast of Phuket by the navy's HTMS Narathiwat partol boat, according to Third Naval Area commander Vice Adm Somnuek Prempramote.
The navy's patrol boat, based in a nearby Phang Nga province, was promptly deployed on the rescue mission for the tourists and employees stranded in the resort islands off Phuket after the tides were reported 2 to 3 meters high in the lower part of the Andaman Sea on Wednesday evening, Vice Adm Somnuek said.
Tour boats and other small vessels which may have shuttled those tourists from Phuket to Koh Racha islands had been strongly advised not to go out to sea due to strong winds and high tides during monsoon season.
The tourists had spent days on the islands during which the sea had been relatively calm and not been expected to get so stormy on Wednesday, he said.
Last month, Phoenix, a luxury tour boat, capsized near Koh Hae island off the northeastern coast of Phuket due to high tides in a rough sea, killing 47 Chinese tourists. ■