Five Thai tourists drowned after the boat they were on capsized in choppy seas in Thailand.
Thirteen holiday makers and three crew were travelling in the vessell for a snorkelling trip around the Chumphon Bay area of the country.
They were visiting the remote Koh Ngamand and Koh Kalok islands but rough seas and heavy rain caused by the area’s monsoon season began to rock the boat.
The Chokthara 2 vessel capsized at around 7.30pm local time and rescuers received a may day call from the captain.
Eight tourists and three crew members were pulled from the ocean while the bodies of five tourists were later found around midnight following a large search operation.
They were all domestic Thai holidaymakers.
Chumphon Governor Narong Pollaiad said rescue scuba divers had found the tourists, four men and one woman, trapped inside the boat having drowned.
He said: ‘’The tourists had been on a diving trip and taking pictures of the coral under the water.
”This was the third day of their trip and they had two more remaining.
‘’We received a call at 8.45pm to assist in the rescue and the relevant agencies were dispatched. The search completed at 2am.
”We will talk to survivors but they are still in grief and shock so we cannot get all of the information yet.
‘’We will find out what caused the accident, whether their was recklessness of the boat owner and what happened in the build up to the tragedy.’’
A large cruise ship was used to aid the rescue in pitch black darkness as divers used torches to scour the wreckage.
The Royal Thai Navy Institute said: ‘’The RTNI dispatched ships and rescue aircraft for tourists trapped in the middle of sea between islands.
‘’The ship was searching for missing persons and later found five people including one man and one woman in the boat. The bodies were train to the hospital.’’