Four bodies found after Thai tourist boat sinks

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Police said the bodies were believed to be those of an Austrian, a German and two Swiss nationals who were among 30 people on the boat when it was reported missing on Sunday night.

Bangkok -- Divers on Wednesday found the bodies of four missing foreign tourists trapped inside a boat that capsized near the Thai tourist isle of Phuket during a scuba diving trip, police said.

Police also identified a fifth body found floating in the sea on Tuesday as that of an Austrian woman, while a Japanese tourist and a Thai cook remained unaccounted for three days after the vessel sank in a storm.

"We have found the ship and there were four bodies stuck inside,” Lieutenant Colonel Wallop Puangpaka of Phuket marine police told AFP. “The wreckage was about 60 to 70 metres (yards) deep."

Police said the bodies were believed to be those of an Austrian, a German and two Swiss nationals who were among 30 people on the boat when it was reported missing on Sunday night.

"But we cannot retrieve the bodies because it is very deep and there is a lack of oxygen for the divers,” Wallop said. “That will resume tomorrow."

He said the divers who found the bodies were foreigners and were associated with the company that operated the ill-fated diving trip.

The 60-foot (18-metre) diving boat was returning from the Similan islands off southern Thailand when it capsized. Police and navy rescued 23 passengers and crew on Monday afternoon.

Police separately identified the Austrian woman whose body was discovered in the sea following the accident as Gabriele Jetzinger, 51.

Her husband, a physician, helped Thai officials identify her body using dental records, a ring and a watch, they said. She was to be cremated on Thursday at a Thai temple, police added.

Austrian media originally reported that three Austrians were missing following the sinking, but no German.

Phuket, Thailand's biggest island, is one of the kingdom's leading tourist draws, with holidaymakers attracted by its white-sand beaches, plush resorts and spas, and clear blue seas.

AFP/Expatica

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