Death toll from Thai tourist boat sinking climbs to 41

PHUKET/BANGKOK, July 7 (Reuters) - The death toll from a tourist boat accident off the coast of Thailand's Phuket island climbed to 41 on Saturday with 15 people still missing, officials said.

Rescuers have resumed a search for those still missing from the sunken vessel, the Phoenix, which capsized in rough waters on Thursday carrying 93 Chinese tourists and 12 Thai crew and tour guides in one of Thailand's worst recent accidents.

Earlier in the day authorities said a hospital morgue in Phuket was running out of space and called on donors to help provide freezers for the bodies.

Forty-one of those on board have been confirmed dead and 49 rescued, officials said.

"Deceased: 41. Missing: 15," the Thai government said in a statement.

RELATED: 41 dead after Thai tourist boat capsizes off the coast of Phuket Island

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41 dead after Thai tourist boat capsizes off the coast of Phuket Island
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41 dead after Thai tourist boat capsizes off the coast of Phuket Island
Thai Rescue workers carry the body of a victim on a stretcher, after a boat capsized off the tourist island of Phuket, Thailand, July 6, 2018. REUTERS/Sooppharoek Teepapan
ATTENTION�EDITORS�- VISUAL�COVERAGE�OF�SCENES�OF�INJURY�OR�DEATH�Thai Rescue workers carry the body of a victim on a stretcher, after a boat capsized off the tourist island of Phuket, Thailand, July 6, 2018. REUTERS/Sooppharoek Teepapan
A Thai Royal Navy boat is seen during a searching operation for missing passengers of a capsized tourist boat at a pier in Phuket Thailand, July 7, 2018. REUTERS/Sooppharoek Teepapan
Thai Rescue workers carry the body of a victim on a stretcher, after a boat capsized off the tourist island of Phuket, Thailand, July 6, 2018. REUTERS/Sooppharoek Teepapan
A Thai navy boat carrying recovered bodies of passengers from a capsized tourist boat arrives at a pier in the tourist island of Phuket, Thailand, July 6, 2018. REUTERS/Sooppharoek Teepapan
Thai Rescue workers carry the body of a victim on a stretcher, after a boat capsized off the tourist island of Phuket, Thailand, July 6, 2018. REUTERS/Sooppharoek Teepapan
Thai Rescue workers carry the body of a victim on a stretcher, after a boat capsized off the tourist island of Phuket, Thailand, July 6, 2018. REUTERS/Sooppharoek Teepapan
Thai Rescue workers carry the body of a victim on a stretcher, after a boat capsized off the tourist island of Phuket, Thailand, July 6, 2018. REUTERS/Sooppharoek Teepapan
Thai Rescue workers carry the body of a victim on a stretcher, after a boat capsized off the tourist island of Phuket, Thailand, July 6, 2018. REUTERS/Sooppharoek Teepapan
PHUKET, THAILAND - JULY 7: Family members of passengers onboard a capsized tourist boat carry out registration upon their arrival at the Vachira Phuket Hospital on July 7, 2018 in Phuket, Thailand. At least 33 people drowned and another 23 are missing after a tourist boat carrying mostly Chinese passengers capsized off the holiday island of Phuket in southern Thailand. The boat carried 105 people, including 93 tourists, 11 crew and one tour guide, and went down during severe weather on Thursday evening as authorities announced all of the dead are Chinese nationals. (Photo by Ore Huiying/Getty Images)
PHUKET, THAILAND - JULY 7: Family members of passengers onboard a capsized tourist boat wait at Phuket Airport upon their arrival on July 7, 2018 in Phuket, Thailand. At least 33 people drowned and another 23 are missing after a tourist boat carrying mostly Chinese passengers capsized off the holiday island of Phuket in southern Thailand. The boat carried 105 people, including 93 tourists, 11 crew and one tour guide, and went down during severe weather on Thursday evening as authorities announced all of the dead are Chinese nationals. (Photo by Ore Huiying/Getty Images)
PHUKET, THAILAND - JULY 7: Thai officials and volunteers set up a reception area at the Phuket airport for the arrival of family members of passengers onboard a capsized tourist boat on July 7, 2018 in Phuket, Thailand. At least 33 people drowned and another 23 are missing after a tourist boat carrying mostly Chinese passengers capsized off the holiday island of Phuket in southern Thailand. The boat carried 105 people, including 93 tourists, 11 crew and one tour guide, and went down during severe weather on Thursday evening as authorities announced all of the dead are Chinese nationals. (Photo by Ore Huiying/Getty Images)
PHUKET, THAILAND - JULY 7: Thai officials carry out a press conference for media at the Chalong Pier on July 7, 2018 in Phuket, Thailand. At least 33 people drowned and another 23 are missing after a tourist boat carrying mostly Chinese passengers capsized off the holiday island of Phuket in southern Thailand. The boat carried 105 people, including 93 tourists, 11 crew and one tour guide, and went down during severe weather on Thursday evening as authorities announced all of the dead are Chinese nationals. (Photo by Ore Huiying/Getty Images)
PHUKET, THAILAND - JULY 7: Thai officials and volunteers set up a reception area at the Phuket airport for the arrival of family members of passengers onboard a capsized tourist boat on July 7, 2018 in Phuket, Thailand. At least 33 people drowned and another 23 are missing after a tourist boat carrying mostly Chinese passengers capsized off the holiday island of Phuket in southern Thailand. The boat carried 105 people, including 93 tourists, 11 crew and one tour guide, and went down during severe weather on Thursday evening as authorities announced all of the dead are Chinese nationals. (Photo by Ore Huiying/Getty Images)
PHUKET, THAILAND - JULY 7: Members of media report at the Vachira Phuket Hospital on July 7, 2018 in Phuket, Thailand. At least 33 people drowned and another 23 are missing after a tourist boat carrying mostly Chinese passengers capsized off the holiday island of Phuket in southern Thailand. The boat carried 105 people, including 93 tourists, 11 crew and one tour guide, and went down during severe weather on Thursday evening as authorities announced all of the dead are Chinese nationals. (Photo by Ore Huiying/Getty Images)
PHUKET, THAILAND - JULY 7: A family member of a passenger onboard a capsized tourist boat, accompanied by a volunteer translator, exits a room after identification process at the Vachira Phuket Hospital on July 7, 2018 in Phuket, Thailand. At least 33 people drowned and another 23 are missing after a tourist boat carrying mostly Chinese passengers capsized off the holiday island of Phuket in southern Thailand. The boat carried 105 people, including 93 tourists, 11 crew and one tour guide, and went down during severe weather on Thursday evening as authorities announced all of the dead are Chinese nationals. (Photo by Ore Huiying/Getty Images)
PHUKET, THAILAND - JULY 7: Family members of passengers onboard a capsized tourist boat wait for updates at the Vachira Phuket Hospital on July 7, 2018 in Phuket, Thailand. At least 33 people drowned and another 23 are missing after a tourist boat carrying mostly Chinese passengers capsized off the holiday island of Phuket in southern Thailand. The boat carried 105 people, including 93 tourists, 11 crew and one tour guide, and went down during severe weather on Thursday evening as authorities announced all of the dead are Chinese nationals. (Photo by Ore Huiying/Getty Images)
PHUKET, THAILAND - JULY 7: Volunteers help out at the Vachira Phuket Hospital on July 7, 2018 in Phuket, Thailand. At least 33 people drowned and another 23 are missing after a tourist boat carrying mostly Chinese passengers capsized off the holiday island of Phuket in southern Thailand. The boat carried 105 people, including 93 tourists, 11 crew and one tour guide, and went down during severe weather on Thursday evening as authorities announced all of the dead are Chinese nationals. (Photo by Ore Huiying/Getty Images)
PHUKET, THAILAND - JULY 7: Volunteers help out at the Vachira Phuket Hospital on July 7, 2018 in Phuket, Thailand. At least 33 people drowned and another 23 are missing after a tourist boat carrying mostly Chinese passengers capsized off the holiday island of Phuket in southern Thailand. The boat carried 105 people, including 93 tourists, 11 crew and one tour guide, and went down during severe weather on Thursday evening as authorities announced all of the dead are Chinese nationals. (Photo by Ore Huiying/Getty Images)
PHUKET, THAILAND - JULY 7: Family members of passengers onboard a capsized tourist boat wait for updates at the Vachira Phuket Hospital on July 7, 2018 in Phuket, Thailand. At least 33 people drowned and another 23 are missing after a tourist boat carrying mostly Chinese passengers capsized off the holiday island of Phuket in southern Thailand. The boat carried 105 people, including 93 tourists, 11 crew and one tour guide, and went down during severe weather on Thursday evening as authorities announced all of the dead are Chinese nationals. (Photo by Ore Huiying/Getty Images)
PHUKET, THAILAND - JULY 7: Family members of passengers onboard a capsized tourist boat arrives at the Vachira Phuket Hospital on July 7, 2018 in Phuket, Thailand. At least 33 people drowned and another 23 are missing after a tourist boat carrying mostly Chinese passengers capsized off the holiday island of Phuket in southern Thailand. The boat carried 105 people, including 93 tourists, 11 crew and one tour guide, and went down during severe weather on Thursday evening as authorities announced all of the dead are Chinese nationals. (Photo by Ore Huiying/Getty Images)
PHUKET, THAILAND - JULY 7: Family members of passengers onboard a capsized tourist boat arrives at the Vachira Phuket Hospital on July 7, 2018 in Phuket, Thailand. At least 33 people drowned and another 23 are missing after a tourist boat carrying mostly Chinese passengers capsized off the holiday island of Phuket in southern Thailand. The boat carried 105 people, including 93 tourists, 11 crew and one tour guide, and went down during severe weather on Thursday evening as authorities announced all of the dead are Chinese nationals. (Photo by Ore Huiying/Getty Images)
PHUKET, THAILAND - JULY 7: Family members of passengers onboard a capsized tourist boat arrives at the Vachira Phuket Hospital on July 7, 2018 in Phuket, Thailand. At least 33 people drowned and another 23 are missing after a tourist boat carrying mostly Chinese passengers capsized off the holiday island of Phuket in southern Thailand. The boat carried 105 people, including 93 tourists, 11 crew and one tour guide, and went down during severe weather on Thursday evening as authorities announced all of the dead are Chinese nationals. (Photo by Ore Huiying/Getty Images)
PHUKET, THAILAND - JULY 7: Family members of passengers onboard a capsized tourist boat carry out registration upon their arrival at the Vachira Phuket Hospital on July 7, 2018 in Phuket, Thailand. At least 33 people drowned and another 23 are missing after a tourist boat carrying mostly Chinese passengers capsized off the holiday island of Phuket in southern Thailand. The boat carried 105 people, including 93 tourists, 11 crew and one tour guide, and went down during severe weather on Thursday evening as authorities announced all of the dead are Chinese nationals. (Photo by Ore Huiying/Getty Images)
PHUKET, THAILAND - JULY 7: People look at the list containing the names of all passengers onboard a capsized tourist boat for updates on rescue search at the Vachira Phuket Hospital on July 7, 2018 in Phuket, Thailand. At least 33 people drowned and another 23 are missing after a tourist boat carrying mostly Chinese passengers capsized off the holiday island of Phuket in southern Thailand. The boat carried 105 people, including 93 tourists, 11 crew and one tour guide, and went down during severe weather on Thursday evening as authorities announced all of the dead are Chinese nationals. (Photo by Ore Huiying/Getty Images)
PHUKET, THAILAND - JULY 7: People look at the list containing the names of all passengers onboard a capsized tourist boat for updates on rescue search at the Vachira Phuket Hospital on July 7, 2018 in Phuket, Thailand. At least 33 people drowned and another 23 are missing after a tourist boat carrying mostly Chinese passengers capsized off the holiday island of Phuket in southern Thailand. The boat carried 105 people, including 93 tourists, 11 crew and one tour guide, and went down during severe weather on Thursday evening as authorities announced all of the dead are Chinese nationals. (Photo by Ore Huiying/Getty Images)
PHUKET, THAILAND - JULY 7: Family members of passengers onboard a capsized tourist boat wait at Phuket Airport upon their arrival on July 7, 2018 in Phuket, Thailand. At least 33 people drowned and another 23 are missing after a tourist boat carrying mostly Chinese passengers capsized off the holiday island of Phuket in southern Thailand. The boat carried 105 people, including 93 tourists, 11 crew and one tour guide, and went down during severe weather on Thursday evening as authorities announced all of the dead are Chinese nationals. (Photo by Ore Huiying/Getty Images)
PHUKET, THAILAND - JULY 7: Family members of passengers onboard a capsized tourist boat wait at Phuket Airport upon their arrival on July 7, 2018 in Phuket, Thailand. At least 33 people drowned and another 23 are missing after a tourist boat carrying mostly Chinese passengers capsized off the holiday island of Phuket in southern Thailand. The boat carried 105 people, including 93 tourists, 11 crew and one tour guide, and went down during severe weather on Thursday evening as authorities announced all of the dead are Chinese nationals. (Photo by Ore Huiying/Getty Images)
PHUKET, THAILAND - JULY 7: Thai officials and volunteers set up a reception area at the Phuket airport for the arrival of family members of passengers onboard a capsized tourist boat on July 7, 2018 in Phuket, Thailand. At least 33 people drowned and another 23 are missing after a tourist boat carrying mostly Chinese passengers capsized off the holiday island of Phuket in southern Thailand. The boat carried 105 people, including 93 tourists, 11 crew and one tour guide, and went down during severe weather on Thursday evening as authorities announced all of the dead are Chinese nationals. (Photo by Ore Huiying/Getty Images)
A group of pressional foreign divers return in Chalong port in Phuket on July 7, 2018 following rescue operation for victims of tourist boat accident. - Thai rescuers pulled 37 bodies from waters off the coast of the holiday island of Phuket on July 6 after a tourist boat went down in heavy seas with dozens of Chinese passengers on board. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A helicopter and rescuers search an area near Phuket on July 7, 2018, as rescue operations continue for missing tourists following a boat accident on July 5. - Thai rescuers pulled 37 bodies from waters off the coast of the holiday island of Phuket on July 6 after a tourist boat went down in heavy seas with dozens of Chinese passengers on board. (Photo by MOHD RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Chinese ambassador to Thailand, Lyu Jian (R) arrives in Chalong pier in Phuket on July 7, 2018 as rescue operations continue for missing tourists following a boat accident on July 5. - Thai rescuers pulled 37 bodies from waters off the coast of the holiday island of Phuket on July 6 after a tourist boat went down in heavy seas with dozens of Chinese passengers on board. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Two boats carrying divers and police officers search an area near Phuket on July 7, 2018, as rescue operations continue for missing tourists following a boat accident on July 5. - Thai rescuers pulled 37 bodies from waters off the coast of the holiday island of Phuket on July 6 after a tourist boat went down in heavy seas with dozens of Chinese passengers on board. (Photo by MOHD RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Rescuers search an area near Phuket on July 7, 2018, as rescue operations continue for missing tourists following a boat accident on July 5. - Thai rescuers pulled 37 bodies from waters off the coast of the holiday island of Phuket on July 6 after a tourist boat went down in heavy seas with dozens of Chinese passengers on board. (Photo by MOHD RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A boat carrying divers and a helicopter search an area near Phuket on July 7, 2018, as rescue operations continue for missing tourists following a boat accident on July 5. - Thai rescuers pulled 37 bodies from waters off the coast of the holiday island of Phuket on July 6 after a tourist boat went down in heavy seas with dozens of Chinese passengers on board. (Photo by MOHD RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A Thai policeman and a Thai navy vessel search the area near Phuket on July 7, 2018, as rescue operations continue for missing tourists following a boat accident on July 5. - Thai rescuers pulled 37 bodies from waters off the coast of the holiday island of Phuket on July 6 after a tourist boat went down in heavy seas with dozens of Chinese passengers on board. (Photo by MOHD RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A helicopter and a Thai navy vessel search the area near Phuket on July 7, 2018, as rescue operations continue for missing tourists following a boat accident on July 5. - Thai rescuers pulled 37 bodies from waters off the coast of the holiday island of Phuket on July 6 after a tourist boat went down in heavy seas with dozens of Chinese passengers on board. (Photo by MOHD RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A helicopter searches the area near Phuket on July 7, 2018, as rescue operations continue for missing tourists following a boat accident on July 5. - Thai rescuers pulled 37 bodies from waters off the coast of the holiday island of Phuket on July 6 after a tourist boat went down in heavy seas with dozens of Chinese passengers on board. (Photo by MOHD RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A boat carrying divers prepare to search an area near Phuket on July 7, 2018, as rescue operations continue for missing tourists following a boat accident on July 5. - Thai rescuers pulled 37 bodies from waters off the coast of the holiday island of Phuket on July 6 after a tourist boat went down in heavy seas with dozens of Chinese passengers on board. (Photo by MOHD RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A helicopter and a Thai navy vessel search the area near Phuket on July 7, 2018, as rescue operations continue for missing tourists following a boat accident on July 5. - Thai rescuers pulled 37 bodies from waters off the coast of the holiday island of Phuket on July 6 after a tourist boat went down in heavy seas with dozens of Chinese passengers on board. (Photo by MOHD RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Two boats carrying divers leave Chalong pier in Phuket on July 7, 2018, as rescue operations continue for missing tourists following a boat accident on July 5. - Thai rescuers pulled 37 bodies from waters off the coast of the holiday island of Phuket on July 6 after a tourist boat went down in heavy seas with dozens of Chinese passengers on board. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A boat carrying divers leaves Chalong pier in Phuket on July 7, 2018, as rescue operations continue for missing tourists following a boat accident on July 5. - Thai rescuers pulled 37 bodies from waters off the coast of the holiday island of Phuket on July 6 after a tourist boat went down in heavy seas with dozens of Chinese passengers on board. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Divers inspect oxygen tanks at Chalong pier in Phuket on July 7, 2018, as rescue operations continue for missing tourists following a boat accident on July 5. - Thai rescuers pulled 37 bodies from waters off the coast of the holiday island of Phuket on July 6 after a tourist boat went down in heavy seas with dozens of Chinese passengers on board. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A diver inspects a tanks oxygen levels at Chalong pier in Phuket on July 7, 2018, as rescue operations continue for missing tourists following a boat accident on July 5. - Thai rescuers pulled 37 bodies from waters off the coast of the holiday island of Phuket on July 6 after a tourist boat went down in heavy seas with dozens of Chinese passengers on board. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A diver carries an oxygen tank at Chalong pier in Phuket on July 7, 2018, as rescue operations continue for missing tourists following a boat accident on July 5. - Thai rescuers pulled 37 bodies from waters off the coast of the holiday island of Phuket on July 6 after a tourist boat went down in heavy seas with dozens of Chinese passengers on board. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Divers carry oxygen tanks at Chalong pier in Phuket on July 7, 2018, as rescue operations continue for missing tourists following a boat accident on July 5. - Thai rescuers pulled 37 bodies from waters off the coast of the holiday island of Phuket on July 6 after a tourist boat went down in heavy seas with dozens of Chinese passengers on board. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Divers inspect oxygen tanks at Chalong pier in Phuket on July 7, 2018, as rescue operations continue for missing tourists following a boat accident on July 5. - Thai rescuers pulled 37 bodies from waters off the coast of the holiday island of Phuket on July 6 after a tourist boat went down in heavy seas with dozens of Chinese passengers on board. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A member of the Thai emergency personnel takes pictures at Chalong pier in Phuket on July 7, 2018, as rescue operations continue for missing tourists following a boat accident on July 5. - Thai rescuers pulled 37 bodies from waters off the coast of the holiday island of Phuket on July 6 after a tourist boat went down in heavy seas with dozens of Chinese passengers on board. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A member of the Royal Thai Army mans Chalong pier in Phuket on July 7, 2018, as rescue operations continue for missing tourists following a boat accident on July 5. - Thai rescuers pulled 37 bodies from waters off the coast of the holiday island of Phuket on July 6 after a tourist boat went down in heavy seas with dozens of Chinese passengers on board. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Thai emergency personnel walk at Chalong pier in Phuket on July 7, 2018, as rescue operations continue for missing tourists following a boat accident on July 5. - Thai rescuers pulled 37 bodies from waters off the coast of the holiday island of Phuket on July 6 after a tourist boat went down in heavy seas with dozens of Chinese passengers on board. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Thai emergency personnel walk at Chalong pier in Phuket on July 7, 2018, as rescue operations continue for missing tourists following a boat accident on July 5. - Thai rescuers pulled 37 bodies from waters off the coast of the holiday island of Phuket on July 6 after a tourist boat went down in heavy seas with dozens of Chinese passengers on board. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Thai rescue personnel carry a body bag bearing the recovered body of a passenger from a capsized tourist boat at Chalong pier in Phuket on July 6, 2018. - Dozens of passengers are missing after a boat capsized as high winds whipped up rough seas off the Thai tourist island of Phuket, officials said late July 5. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Thai rescue personnel aboard a search and rescue ship recover a body from a capsized tourist boat at sea off Phuket on July 6, 2018. - Dozens of passengers are missing after a boat capsized as high winds whipped up rough seas off the Thai tourist island of Phuket, officials said late July 5. (Photo by Sakorn PETCHTHONG / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAKORN PETCHTHONG/AFP/Getty Images)
Thai rescue personnel aboard a search and rescue ship recover a body from a capsized tourist boat at sea off Phuket on July 6, 2018. - Dozens of passengers are missing after a boat capsized as high winds whipped up rough seas off the Thai tourist island of Phuket, officials said late July 5. Sakorn Petchthong (Photo by Sakorn PETCHTHONG / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAKORN PETCHTHONG/AFP/Getty Images)
A Thai woman sits in front of the Chalong pier entrance in Phuket on July 6, 2018, as rescue operations continue nearby for missing tourists following a boating accident on July 5. - The death toll from a boat accident near the Thai holiday island of Phuket surged to 21, officials said on July 6, as divers reported seeing multiple bodies inside the sunken hull of the Phoenix tourist vessel. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the Royal Thai Air Force rest at Chalong pier in Phuket on July 6, 2018, as rescue operations continue nearby for missing tourists following a boating accident on July 5. - The death toll from a boat accident near the Thai holiday island of Phuket surged to 21, officials said on July 6, as divers reported seeing multiple bodies inside the sunken hull of the Phoenix tourist vessel. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A rescued passenger of the capsized tourist boat in rough seas, takes medicines inside a hospital in Phuket on July 6, 2018. - Thai rescuers pulled 21 bodies from waters off the coast of the holiday island of Phuket on on July 6 after a tourist boat went down in heavy seas with dozens of Chinese passengers on board. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Rescued passengers of the capsized tourist boat in rough seas Wu Jun 28 (R) and his wife Long Hai Ning 29 (L) sit inside a hospital in Phuket on July 6, 2018. - Thai rescuers pulled 21 bodies from waters off the coast of the holiday island of Phuket on on July 6 after a tourist boat went down in heavy seas with dozens of Chinese passengers on board. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Rescued passengers of the capsized tourist boat in rough seas Wu Jun 28 (R) and his wife Long Hai Ning 29 (L) chat inside a hospital in Phuket on July 6, 2018. - Thai rescuers pulled 21 bodies from waters off the coast of the holiday island of Phuket on on July 6 after a tourist boat went down in heavy seas with dozens of Chinese passengers on board. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Rescued passenger of the capsized tourist boat in rough seas Long Hai Ning 29, looks on as her husband Wu Jun (unseen) talks inside a hospital in Phuket on July 6, 2018. - Thai rescuers pulled 21 bodies from waters off the coast of the holiday island of Phuket on on July 6 after a tourist boat went down in heavy seas with dozens of Chinese passengers on board. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A rescued passenger of the capsized tourist boat in rough seas looks on inside a hospital in Phuket on July 6, 2018. - Thai rescuers pulled 21 bodies from waters off the coast of the holiday island of Phuket on on July 6 after a tourist boat went down in heavy seas with dozens of Chinese passengers on board. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A Thai Tourist Police boat prepares to dock at Chalong pier in Phuket on July 6, 2018, as rescue operations continue nearby for missing tourists following a boating accident on July 5. - The death toll from a boat accident near the Thai holiday island of Phuket surged to 21, officials said on July 6, as divers reported seeing multiple bodies inside the sunken hull of the Phoenix tourist vessel. (Photo by MOHD RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Pleasure boats sit lined up near Chalong pier in Phuket on July 6, 2018, as rescue operations continue nearby for missing tourists following a boating accident on July 5. - The death toll from a boat accident near the Thai holiday island of Phuket surged to 21, officials said on July 6, as divers reported seeing multiple bodies inside the sunken hull of the Phoenix tourist vessel. (Photo by MOHD RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Thai emergency personnel transfer a passenger from the sunken tourist boat at the Chalong pier in Phuket on July 6, 2018, as rescue operations continue for missing tourists following a boating accident on July 5. - The death toll from a boat accident near the Thai holiday island of Phuket surged to 21, officials said on July 6, as divers reported seeing multiple bodies inside the sunken hull of the Phoenix tourist vessel. (Photo by MOHD RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Thai rescue personnel move a passenger on a stretcher at Chalong pier in Phuket on July 6, 2018. - Dozens of passengers are missing after a boat capsized as high winds whipped up rough seas off the Thai tourist island of Phuket, officials said late July 5. (Photo by MOHD RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Thai emergency personnel transfer a passenger (C) from the sunken tourist boat at the Chalong pier in Phuket on July 6, 2018, as rescue operations continue for missing tourists following a boating accident on July 5. - The death toll from a boat accident near the Thai holiday island of Phuket surged to 21, officials said on July 6, as divers reported seeing multiple bodies inside the sunken hull of the Phoenix tourist vessel. (Photo by MOHD RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Boat are seen docked at Chalong pier in Phuket on July 6, 2018. - Dozens of passengers are missing after a boat capsized as high winds whipped up rough seas off the Thai tourist island of Phuket, officials said late July 5. (Photo by MOHD RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Thai rescue personnel carry stretchers before recovered bodies of passengers from a capsized tourist boat arrive at Chalong pier in Phuket on July 6, 2018. at Chalong pier in Phuket on July 6, 2018. - Dozens of passengers are missing after a boat capsized as high winds whipped up rough seas off the Thai tourist island of Phuket, officials said late July 5. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Thai rescue personnel move a passenger on a stretcher at Chalong pier in Phuket on July 6, 2018. - Dozens of passengers are missing after a boat capsized as high winds whipped up rough seas off the Thai tourist island of Phuket, officials said late July 5. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Ambulances are seen before recovered bodies of passengers from a capsized tourist boat arrive at Chalong pier in Phuket on July 6, 2018. - Dozens of passengers are missing after a boat capsized as high winds whipped up rough seas off the Thai tourist island of Phuket, officials said late July 5. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Thai rescue personnel carry a body bag bearing the recovered body of a passenger from a capsized tourist boat at Chalong pier in Phuket on July 6, 2018. - Dozens of passengers are missing after a boat capsized as high winds whipped up rough seas off the Thai tourist island of Phuket, officials said late July 5. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A Thai rescue boat carrying recovered bodies of passengers from a capsized tourist boat arrives at Chalong pier in Phuket on July 6, 2018. - Dozens of passengers are missing after a boat capsized as high winds whipped up rough seas off the Thai tourist island of Phuket, officials said late July 5. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Thai rescue personnel carry a body bag bearing the recovered body of a passenger from a capsized tourist boat at Chalong pier in Phuket on July 6, 2018. - Dozens of passengers are missing after a boat capsized as high winds whipped up rough seas off the Thai tourist island of Phuket, officials said late July 5. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Thai rescue personnel move a passenger on a stretcher at Chalong pier in Phuket on July 6, 2018. - Dozens of passengers are missing after a boat capsized as high winds whipped up rough seas off the Thai tourist island of Phuket, officials said late July 5. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Thai rescue and paramedic personnel attend to rescued passengers of capsized tourist boat in rough seas at a port in Phuket on July 5, 2018. - Dozens of passengers are missing after a boat capsized as high winds whipped up rough seas off the Thai tourist island of Phuket, officials said late July 5. (Photo by Kritsada MUENHAWONG / AFP) (Photo credit should read KRITSADA MUENHAWONG/AFP/Getty Images)
Rescued passengers of capsized tourist boat rest at a port facility in Phuket on July 5, 2018. - Dozens of passengers are missing after a boat capsized as high winds whipped up rough seas off the Thai tourist island of Phuket, officials said late July 5. (Photo by Kritsada MUENHAWONG / AFP) (Photo credit should read KRITSADA MUENHAWONG/AFP/Getty Images)
Thai rescue personnel carry a body bag bearing the recovered body of passenger of capsized tourist boat at a port facility in Phuket on July 5, 2018. - Dozens of passengers are missing after a boat capsized as high winds whipped up rough seas off the Thai tourist island of Phuket, officials said late July 5. (Photo by Kritsada MUENHAWONG / AFP) (Photo credit should read KRITSADA MUENHAWONG/AFP/Getty Images)
Thai rescue and paramedic personnel attend to rescued passengers of capsized tourist boat in rough seas at a port in Phuket on July 5, 2018. - Dozens of passengers are missing after a boat capsized as high winds whipped up rough seas off the Thai tourist island of Phuket, officials said late July 5. (Photo by Kritsada MUENHAWONG / AFP) (Photo credit should read KRITSADA MUENHAWONG/AFP/Getty Images)
Thai rescue and paramedic personnel attend to rescued passengers of capsized tourist boat in rough seas at a port in Phuket on July 5, 2018. - Dozens of passengers are missing after a boat capsized as high winds whipped up rough seas off the Thai tourist island of Phuket, officials said late July 5. (Photo by Kritsada MUENHAWONG / AFP) (Photo credit should read KRITSADA MUENHAWONG/AFP/Getty Images)
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The Phoenix sank after being hit by five-meter (16-ft) -high waves in a storm off Phuket, whose beaches and night life draw tourists.

Some Thais and tour operators have questioned why the boat was at sea during bad weather. The Chinese government has also pressed for a quick investigation into the cause of the accident, the Thai government's media office in Phuket said.

Thai junta number two Prawit Wongsuwan has ordered an investigation into why the Phoenix appeared to have ignored a weather warning.

 

FREEZER APPEAL

Ambulances unloaded bodies at the hospital on Phuket's east coast that received most of the casualties, as staff escorted visibly distressed family members to a waiting room.

The hospital was storing some bodies in a makeshift morgue built from two refrigerated containers, a Reuters reporter at the site said.

"Urgent! The Chinese embassy is calling for 40 freezers," the Thai government said in an appeal, urging potential donors to contact the hospital.

About 20 freezers have been donated, said Jessada Chokdamrongsook, a Health Ministry official.

Rear Admiral Charoenpol Kumrasri, a deputy commander of the Thai navy, who is helping to lead the rescue effort, said he was confident divers would complete their search of the sunken vessel by Saturday.

"After this evening, if we do not find any more missing in the wreckage, the missing will float to the surface and we will be able to find them," he told reporters.

Tourism is a key driver of growth in Southeast Asia's second-largest economy, making up 12 percent of gross domestic product, and the most foreign visitors come from China.

China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism on Saturday called on Thai tourism authorities to make the risks of travel, including weather conditions, clearer to tourists.

Thailand is in the middle of its rainy season, which usually runs from May to mid-October and often generates high winds and flash storms in coastal areas.

Accidents like the Phoenix disaster are bad for Thailand, said tourist police official Surachate Hakparn, addin: "We have to be more stringent."

Thailand is already in the global spotlight as a multinational effort to rescue 12 schoolboys and their soccer coach trapped for days in a northern mountain cave picks up pace.

(Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng, Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Pracha Hariraksapitak in BANGKOK, Philip Wen and Juarawee Kittisilpa in PHUKET Writing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Alison Williams)

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