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Page last updated at 11:20 GMT, Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Body found at Thai accident site

Survivors reach shore, 9 Mar 09
Twenty-three survivors were rescued shortly after the boat sank

Rescuers say they have found the body of a Caucasian woman in the sea, after a boat carrying 30 people capsized off Thailand's south-western coast.

The search is continuing for six others - a Thai national and five foreigners.

Officials said the boat sank in stormy weather in the early hours of Monday as it returned from the Similan islands, which are popular with divers.

The Thai navy said 23 survivors were found shortly after the boat sank, and had been taken to hospital.

Officials earlier said they were looking for two Swiss nationals, two Australians, one Japanese, a Thai and a German citizen.

Map
All were said to be tourists on a diving expedition except for the Thai national, who was the boat's cook.

"The rescue team found the body of a European female floating near the accident site," marine police spokesman Lt Col Wallop Puangpaka told AFP news agency.

"But we cannot be sure that she was one of the six tourists. We have to wait for a doctor's autopsy," he said.

An unnamed official told reporters that the chances of survival for those still missing were now slim.

Helicopters searching the area in calm seas had not found the boat, the official added.

The Similan islands are located in the Andaman Sea about 120km (75 miles) north-west of Phuket - one of Thailand's top tourist destinations.

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