The confirmed fatalities out of over 150 total passengers include three Thai natives, two tourists from Russia and one from China. At around 5 p.m. local time, the ferry ran into engine trouble. According to Channel News Asia, local reports indicate that there may have been some overcrowding on the vessel in addition to the engine problems.
An unnamed police officer told CNA that authorities are working on rescue efforts, which include dozens of ambulances on the scene, but were not sure at the time whether more passengers were trapped inside the ferry. However, Agence France-Presse notes that Pattaya police chief Colonel Suwarn Chiewnawintawat said the rest of the passengers had been pulled out of the water.
"Witnesses said there were neither enough tubes nor life vests on the ferry," he said. "Some of those who cannot swim had to cling onto coolers or ice containers until rescuers came."
Pattaya is located about 100 miles southeast of Bangkok and is said to be a popular tourist spot renowned for its racy nightlife. AFP adds that the site is also a popular destination for Russian tourists, who reportedly made up about half of the passengers on the ferry.
The vessel, a double-decker model, went down near Koh Larn, a small island located just west of Pattaya off the coast of Thailand.
Police intend to question the ferry's captain to help determine the exact cause of the incident.