PHUKET: A 40-foot catamaran anchored in Chalong Bay, off Phuket’s east coast, burst into flames at about 10pm last night.
Three explosions were heard while the fire engulfed the boat, which sank about two hours later.
Police have yet to determine whether anyone was on board.
Chalong Police Duty Officer Boonlert Onklang reported witnesses saying that the fire broke out at one end of the yacht before spreading very quickly to the center of the boat.
Emergency rescue officers from the Tourist Rescue Center at Chalong Pier arrived alongside the burning vessel but could not board the boat to fight the fire as flames erupted from the hull, he said.
“Officers tried to put out the blaze with chemical fire extinguishers, but were not successful due to the strong wind,” he said.
“They could not board the boat. They fought the fire the best they could from alongside, but in the end the fire engulfed the boat and it sank after about two hours,” Lt Col Boonlert added.
“From our initial examination, it seems nobody was on deck, but we have yet to determine whether anyone was below deck as no one has come forward to claim being the owner of the boat,” Lt Col Boonlert said.
The boat was anchored in Chalong Bay for “many days” before the fire last night, he added.
As no one has come forward to identify the boat or its owner, Chalong police believe the boat belonged to a foreign tourist visiting Phuket, he said..
— Yodsak Jarana