SURAT THANI: Seven people were missing and nine others rescued after a ferry hit by a strong storm capsized after leaving Koh Samui island, heading for the Don Sak boat pier on the mainland on Saturday night, local media reported.
The Raja 4 ferry was loaded with garbage, three 10-wheel lorries and a pick-up truck. On board the ferry were 11 crewmen, four drivers of the three lorries and the pick-up and a saleswoman.
Raja Ferry Plc operates ferries running between Don Sak and Koh Samui,
The ferry departed from Koh Samui at 8.48pm. At about 10pm, it was hit by a strong storm and high waves, and capsized about 2 nautical miles from Koh Samui, between Koh 4 and Koh 5 islands.
Surat Thani governor and medical staff from Koh Samui Hospital rushed to the boat landing of the Raja Ferry Plc at tambon Lipa Noy on Koh Samui.
Koh Samui marine police dispatched two patrol boats, R6 and R10, for the rescue. They managed to pluck nine people – seven ferry crew including the skipper and the drivers of two 10-wheel lorries – from the high waves.
Seven other people – four ferry crewmen, the drivers of the other 10-wheel lorry and the pick-up, and the saleswoman – were still missing.
Mr Wichawut said the rescue operation was hampered by heavy rain and waves of 2-3 metres.
The rescue team continued the search for the missing into the night.