BANGKOK – At least 12 people have died and dozens are missing in Thailand after a boat carrying 150 Thai Muslims capsized in the ancient tourist city of Ayutthaya, officials said Sunday.
The accident took place on the Chao Phraya river in Ayutthaya, a UNESCO World Heritage site located some 80 km (43 miles) north of the capital, Bangkok.
At least 37 were injured and many are still missing as rescue workers continue to search for survivors into the night.
The dead include seven women, four men and one boy, Rewat Prasong, deputy governor of Ayutthaya province, said.
The passengers were on their way back from a religious activity when the double-decker boat hit the bank of the river before sinking, district chief Suchon Phaitirat said.
Sunday’s accident comes as Thailand expects to welcome some 33 million visitors this year, a record.
Road and boat accidents involving tourists are common in Thailand where safety standards are sometimes well below international norms.
But such accidents barely make a dent on Thailand’s tourism industry, one of the few bright spots in an otherwise lackluster economy, nor have a series of bomb blasts in southern Thailand had much of an impact.
One of the attacks in August left four Thais dead and dozens injured, including foreigners. Police have blamed the bombings on Malay Muslim insurgents operating in Thailand’s far south.
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