A ship carrying dozens of tourists sunk Tuesday morning on its way from Maya Bay in Thailand’s Phi Phi Island, leaving one Israeli dead and another injured.
The dead man was later identified as Nissim Lugasi, 26, of Akko, who was on his honeymoon. His wife was not hurt in the incident.
Thai police said the ship was carrying 59 passengers in total, 38 of which were Israeli. The ship capsized about one kilometer away from shore evidently due to stormy weather.
Rescue teams rushed to the scene and began pulling passengers out of the water. Thirty-seven Israelis were rescued from the sinking ship, according to the Foreign Ministry. Israel’s consular to Thailand was also sent to the scene.
“The ship sailed for a tour of seven islands. About a kilometer from the shore, the ship capsized,” Israeli Ambassador to Thailand Yael Rubenstein told Ynet. She added that the family of the man who drowned in the incident had been informed.
'We looked death in the eye'
A source at the Chabad House in Phuket said that the injured passenger had been admitted to the local hospital, and that the remainder of the passengers had apparently been returned to Phi Phi Island.
Or Reuben, a 22-year-old resident of Petach Tikva, was one of the passengers on the ship.
Reuben described the ordeal in a telephone interview with Ynet. “We tried to keep our heads above water. People were screaming, and some were praying,” she said. “We looked death in the eye.”
“It happened about 10 minutes after we set sail,” Reuben explained. “Suddenly, it starting raining hard and the sea began raging. We didn’t think much of it because that’s the usual weather, but a minute later we felt the water entering the ship and it started sinking.”
According to Reuben, divers in the area helped rescue passengers. “They saw our distress and came towards us. I think they were from Spain. They pulled us into their boats and saved us,” she said.
Reuben also said the Israeli passenger who died had apparently lost consciousness after being tossed about in the ship while it was sinking. “After they took him to the hospital we realized he was dead,” she said.