Search resumes for girl after 110 rescued from Thai boat

AP News
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Posted: Apr 08, 2015 11:20 PM

BANGKOK (AP) — Thai authorities on Thursday resumed a search for a 12-year-old Israeli girl who went missing after about 100 people, including many foreign tourists, were rescued from a tour boat that caught fire in the Andaman Sea off Thailand's southwestern coast.

Navy and marine police officers, along with rescuers, continued searching for Shami Aril who was on vacation with her parents and was believed to be in the restroom when the fire broke out on the ferry, said Narong Woonchew, the deputy governor of Krabi province.

He said police were still investigating the cause of the fire, which engulfed the Ao Nang Princess boat that was carrying about 110 people and traveling from Krabi to Phuket, two of Thailand's most popular beach resort areas.

Narong said the officials were checking with other boats as they thought the missing girl might have been picked up by another boat that was going to Phuket, but they have not found her.

Police Col. Sompong Thip-apakul said on Wednesday most of the rescued passengers and crew, totaling about 110, were taken to Krabi, several miles (kilometers) from where the fire started.

Photos taken by rescuers, including the Krabi Marine Police, showed the abandoned vessel burning down almost to the waterline before sinking.

Sompong said the investigation of the fire would be difficult because the vessel had sunk.

Thailand's tourist industry, which welcomes more than 20 million people a year, has suffered a black eye in recent years due to domestic political violence and several high-profile killings and unexplained accidental deaths of Westerners, but serious marine accidents are uncommon.