Over 100 people rescued from burning Thai tourist boat

Bangkok: A 12-year-old Israeli girl was reported missing even as more than 100 people, including several foreign tourists, were rescued after the engine of a tour boat exploded in Thailand's southwestern coast today.

Police said that rescue units were still searching for the girl, who was reportedly in the toilet near the engine of the boat when it exploded off Krabi in the Andaman Sea.

Krabi Governor Songpol Sawasditham confirmed the girl's disappearance, Thai Rath Online reported.

He said more rescue staff and divers including personnel from Third Naval Area Command will join the search tomorrow for the missing girl.   

Police quoting Wirat Jittaraporn, the captain of the Ao Nang Princess 5 ferry with 104 passengers and crew onboard, said the vessel was about seven to eight kilometres from Railay beach near Ao Nang when he heard the explosion from the engine room.

He reportedly ordered everyone to put on life jackets and prepare to abandon ship, police said.

The fire quickly engulfed the ferry before it sank off Krabi's Noppharat Thara beach. The fire began in the engine room at the back of the 35-metre long and 4.5-metre wide ferry.

About a dozen fishing trawlers, speed boats and rescue craft from police and marine authorities were involved in the rescue efforts.

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