Brit holidaymaker missing after packed tourist boat carrying family sinks in rough seas off Thailand while on dive trip

Brit holidaymaker missing after packed tourist boat carrying family sinks in rough seas off Thailand while on dive trip

A BRITISH tourist is missing off the coast of Thailand after a diving boat sank in rough seas.

The woman in her 50s was on a dream trip with pals visiting the idyllic Surin Islands archipelago in southern Thailand.

Some 16 tourists – including 4 Brits – were rescued from the sinking dive boat

The tourists were hauled aboard a fishing trawler and returned to shore

Thai search and rescue teams are now looking for the two missing people – including the Brit woman

But the ship Reggae Queen was battered by large waves and took on water around four nautical miles from the enclave of tropical islands, popular with snorkelling and diving trips.

Shocked holidaymakers scrambled to safety but the Brit is understood to have been dragged into the choppy sea along with one member of the crew, a Thai woman.

At least four other Brits are understood to have been on board at the time of the sinking – but they were rescued by a passing fishing trawler.

They were pictured in a passing vessel along with 12 other rescued tourists and four of the crew as they were safely returned to the shore.

The Thai navy along with helicopters and the coast guard are now searching for the Brit and one of the crew.

Officials said a Mayday call was made shortly before 9am.

The red, yellow and green boat – painted in the colors of the Rastafari flag – sank shortly after in the choppy waters.

Supoj Rodruang Na Nongkhai, the governor of Phang Nga province, said he had instructed all boats in the area to look out for the two missing people in the Andaman Sea region.

He said that rescued teams were searching in the direction of the sea currents, which are believed to have carried the missing pair in a northwest direction.

The governor added: “A helicopter will join the search. There is also a navy ship and national park staff in lifeboats searching the area along with other search personnel.

“The missing person is a British woman and a Thai member of the crew. We are putting all of our resources into finding them.’

The Thai Meteorological Department reported that there would be thunderstorms and heavy rain the southwest coast of Thailand.

Conditions at sea during November and December in the south of Thailand are typically the most dangerous of the year, with strong currents, powerful waves and heavy rain.

Thai islands have become popular destinations for diving and snorkeling trips because of the clear water and diverse marine life.

However, safety on the ageing and unregulated vessels is often below standard.

Just a day earlier, dozens of passengers were rescued from a sinking ship that was traveling to notorious Thai death island Koh Tao.

Official said 92 tourists were aboard the Sandee Maneesap 111 night boat travelling from Surat Thani province to Koh Tao island when the vessel began taking on water due to a broken pump at dawn on Friday morning, December 22.

An official from the Phang Nga Provincial Port Security Control Center said: “A notification was received at approximately 9am saying that the ship was sinking four miles south of the Surin Islands.

“The boat was taking tourists on a snorkeling and diving trip. Immediate assistance was provided and 12 tourists were rescued by a passing fishing boat.

“At present, two people are still missing. They are one foreigner and one Thai.”

The Sun Online has contacted the Foreign Office for comment.

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