A 12-year-old Israeli girl was killed on Wednesday when a tour boat caught fire in the Andaman Sea off Thailand’s southwestern coast. More than 100 people, including many foreign tourists, were rescued.
Police Col. Sompong Thip-apakul said the accident occurred on the Ao Nang Princess 5 ferry traveling from Krabi to Phuket, two of Thailand’s most popular beach resort areas.
He said a 12-year-old Western child was missing, but the Israeli Foreign Ministry later confirmed she died, adding that it was, along with the Israeli Embassy in Bangkok, trying to arrange for the body to be transferred to Israel. Her parents and brother were rescued.
The girl was on vacation in Thailand where they were visiting during Passover in celebration of her bat mitzvah.
Most of the rescued passengers and crew, totaling about 110, were taken to Krabi, several kilometers from where the fire occurred.
Photos taken by rescuers, including the Krabi Marine Police, showed the abandoned vessel burning down almost to the waterline before sinking.
Sompong said police were investigating the cause of the blaze, but the task would be difficult because the vessel had sunk.
Thailand’s tourist industry, which welcomes more than 20 million people a year, has suffered in recent years due to domestic political violence and several high-profile killings and unexplained accidental deaths of Westerners, but serious marine accidents are uncommon.