A Chinese national perished and 56 other people are reported missing after a boat capsized in turbulent waters near Thailand's popular tourist destination Phuket, according to a report by Reuters.
The boat, called the Phoenix, was reportedly carrying 105 passengers, 93 of whom were Chinese tourists and 12 Thai crew members and guides.
"One person is dead, 11 injured (two have severe injuries, 5 have minor injuries) and 56 are missing. We are continuing to gather a team to search for them," the Water Safety Department for the Thailand Harbor Department said.
"Forty-eight had been saved," it added.
Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong says it is possible that the missing people are still trapped inside the boat.
"I assume they are trapped inside the boat… but I wish some of them have survived," Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong said, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).
"I have not yet received any reports of people floating in the sea," he said, adding a flicker of hope that the boat went down so fast an air pocket may have been created to help those passengers survive..
"Navy divers, frogmen, and marine police divers have already been sent to the scene," says Rear Admiral Charoenphon Khumrasee, deputy commander of the Thai Navy in the southern region. "Helicopters will search for those who may have floated out."
The marines said they are preparing to conduct a search inside the ship.
A Chinese consular official has arrived at the operations center in Phuket to monitor the rescue effort, AFP reports.
Reuters also reports another boat, The Serenta, also capsizing in the same area. The yacht was reportedly carrying 35 tourists, five crew members, and a guide. Most of the Serenta's passengers of the have been rescued but two are still reported missing, the Harbor Department said.
Thailand is already in the middle of another dramatic rescue mission in the north of the country after 12 boys and their football coach were trapped in a cave complex.