Two longtail boat drivers collided with a tour boat as they raced each other in a canal at Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in the central province of Ratchaburi. Five Chinese tourists on the tour boat sustained minor injuries as a result of the crash.
Somphong Nimnuan, the 64-year-old oarsman of the tour boat, told 77 Kaoded news agency that he was leading a group of five Chinese tourists on a peaceful boat tour along the Damnoen Saduak canal when he was suddenly alerted by the sound of racing boat engines.
Upon turning around, he saw two longtail boats careening towards him. Unfortunately, one of the boats collided with his tour boat, causing Somphong to be struck on the head and fall to the ground in agony.
Thankfully, the boat remained upright, allowing the five Chinese tourists to escape unharmed. They immediately came to Somphong’s aid, providing support until he felt better.
Somphong, due to the discomfort from his head injury, decided to cancel the rest of the tour. He safely dropped off the tourists at the pier, despite his injury, and then informed his employer, Yuwanda Urupongsa, about the accident.
Yuwanda reported that she tried to file a complaint at the Damnoen Saduak Police Station, but was directed to the Marine Department instead. However, her complaint was also rejected there and she was once again redirected back to the police.
Determined to bring attention to the dangerous situation for both locals and travellers, Yuwanda decided to seek help from Thai media. She emphasized that this incident was a serious concern and needed to be addressed.
The Marine Department stepped in to take action. The Director of Marine Office Division 3, Suriya Kittimonthon, reported that the two boat racers were Kowit Leeniyom and Thepphakorn Channgam.
The two boat drivers denied the accusation, claiming that they were travelling at a normal speed and that one of them simply lost control while trying to overtake another boat.
Nevertheless, the Marine Department regarded it as recklessness. The department issued warnings to Kowit and Thepphakorn, suspended their boat driving licenses for three months, and ordered the men to pay Somphong 5,000 baht in compensation and treatment costs.
Suriya stressed that all boats with engines were under the supervision of the Marine Department and equipped with security cameras and life jackets to guarantee the safety of tourists.
On the other hand, rowing boats were not within their control, and he advised tourists to always request for life jackets before embarking on any trip for their safety.
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