Death toll from sunken boat rises to 28, search called off


Search and rescue workers have called off their search for passengers of a Muslim pilgrimage boat that sank in the Chao Phraya river after the 28th and last victim was plucked from the river on Tuesday.


The last victim was identified as Thongbai Khantharak, 89.

Udomsak Khaonuna, head of Ayutthaya office of public disaster prevention and mitigation, said that officials had been notified by a Muslim religious leader that all the missing passengers had now been accounted for.

He said he had checked with police and local administration officials that a two-year old boy, Apinan Saengkham, who was reported missing, might be a misunderstanding because there was no one with that name on the official census.

The two-day search was called off late Tuesday with the total death toll from the boat accident being put at 28, 46 others were injured.

The double-deck boat appeared to be overcrowded with about 200 Muslim passengers on their way back from a visit to a masjid in Ayutthaya to perform a religious ceremony.

It reportedly tried to overtake a fleet of sand-laden boats but struck underwater pillars of a dike in front of Wat Sanamchai on Sunday.

Meanwhile, officials of the Harbour Department managed to salvage the sunken boat from the bottom of the Chao Phraya river and towed it to Sricharoen pier about 4-5 kilometres away.