Speedboat sinks, 7 dead, others missing

KOH SAMUI: Seven people have drowned and another six or seven are still missing after a speedboat returning to Koh Samui after a full moon party on Koh Pha-ngan abruptly capsized and sank early this morning

Speaking with the Gazette at midday today, Pol Col Arkom Saisamai, Superintendent of Samui Police Station, told the Gazette that about 35 passengers were aboard the Sawasdee Chaloem Chorknavee 3, owned by Sea Breeze Co, returning to Koh Samui at about 5 am, when the boat, which was fitted with three powerful outboard motors, turned sharply and rolled.

The trip from Koh Pha-ngan, famed for its all-night full moon parties, to Koh Samui usually takes about 20 minutes by speedboat.

Col Arkom told the Gazette that the seven victims were three Thais, an American man, an Israeli woman and two other foreign men who have yet to be identified. Two of the Thais were identified as Seree Kerdsuwan, from Nakorn Sri Thammarat and Komkrit Channong from Trang. The third Thai, a woman, has also yet to be identified

“About six or seven people are still missing. The Marine Police and other officers are searching for them now.

“The injured survivors have already been transfered to Koh Samui Hospital, but none was seriously injured,” Col Arkom said.

Police divers who examined the sunken speedboat said that it appeared that the steering shaft had snapped. This would have caused the boat to swerve violently and uncontrollably.

Asked whether any of the passengers were wearing life vests, Col Arkom said he did not know, but added that life vests had been found in the wreckage of the boat.

He complained that agents for the speedboat company could not provide a list of passenger names. “They just know they have to pick five people from this hotel and seven from that one,” he said. “So that means it is much more difficult to identify who was on the boat.”

The boat driver was found alive. Col Arkom said it was too early to say whether charges would be brought against him or against Sea Breeze.

Phuket News
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