The death toll of a boat accident which occurred near the Thai holiday island of Phuket last week has now risen to 44.

Reuters reported that three more bodies were pulled from the Andaman Sea on Tuesday with relatives and authorities setting about identifying more than 40 dead from the boating disaster.

101 people were on board the Phoenix tourist boat when it sank in rough seas and bad weather on Thursday, 89 of them tourists, and all but two of them from China. There were also 12 Thai crew aboard the ship.

The conditions reportedly created waves up to 5m (16ft) high which caused the Phoenix to overturn off the coast of Koh He, an islet known for its coral formations.

Officials confirmed the death of 44 people on Tuesday, which means this is ‘Thailand’s worst tourist-related disaster in years’ and underscores ‘safety concerns about the industry,’ the Reuters report outlined.

54 people survived the accident and the search for three missing people will continue if the weather allows. Divers have been searching inside the submerged boat for any survivors.

It has been reported that two other boats capsized in the same area on Thursday but passengers were brought safely to the shore.

Police said that the captain of the Phoenix has been charged with negligence causing death. He has denied the charges.

The Thai media reported on Monday that more than 50 Chinese families have arrived in Phuket to identify the bodies of deceased relatives and look after survivors.

Main image: Stock photo of Phuket, Thailand

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