Six people were still missing as of press time after a boat sank between Koh Racha Yai and Koh Phi Phi at about 3.55am yesterday.
Upon learning of the accident, the Navy immediately dispatched a search team for those on board the vessel, which was also carrying construction materials and a backhoe from Ao Makham to Koh Racha Yai.
"We were first alerted by a manager at Rayaburi Resort, who informed us that the boat had sunk and that six people were left floating in rough seas," said Captain Puttiporn Sawatsut of the Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command. "We immediately sent our boats to look for the missing people. Shortly after the boats were dispatched, a helicopter joined the search.
"At about 5.45am we received reports that 3-metre waves were heading our direction, so we decided to proceed with caution as we searched."
The Phuket Marine Office is currently searching for the boat's registration information to confirm details about the vessel, Nachapong Pranit of the Phuket Marine Office told the Phuket Gazette.
An order was issued in Phuket yesterday forbidding boats smaller than 9m from going out to sea.