“…both boat drivers have been charged with reckless driving causing death and injury.”
Two Russian children have died and some 22 people were injured following a high-speed speedboat collision off Phuket’s east coast just before 8am this morning. The incident occurred in the channel linking Phuket’s two main east coast marinas with the Phang Nga Bay on the east side of the island at about 7.50am. One of the speedboats was travelling fast along the channel, heading out towards the Bay, when it collided with the other vessel at high speed.
There was a total of 29 passengers and crew travelling on the two tour speed boats. The crews on the two boats were not harmed in the incident. Phuket marine police speculate the incident was caused by reckless driving.
According to initial police reports, a tour boat, the “Payan 5”, operated by Seastar Andaman, with headquarters in Thalang, was heading into the channel from Rassada (Phuket Town) to pick up tourists at Royal Phuket Marina in Koh Kaew. When the vessel was just turning to berth at the marina, it was struck, at speed, by another vessel, “ALP”, owned by Andaman Leisure Phuket, based at Boat Lagoon Marina, Koh Kaew.
The Andaman Leisure Phuket speedboat, loaded with passengers for a day trip, was heading out into Phang Nga Bay from Boat Lagoon.
Major Ekachai Siri of the Phuket Tourist Police confirmed around midday that both boat drivers have been charged with reckless driving causing death and injury.
22 injured passengers were attended to at the scene before being rushed to hospitals around Phuket – four to Mission Hospital Phuket, 11 to Bangkok Hospital Phuket, six to Bangkok Hospital Siriroj and one Russian national was sent to Vachira Hospital. The two dead children were a 6 year old girl and a 12 year old boy.
Video footage (below) from the scene showed rescue workers performing CPR on two young Russian children in the boatyard of the Royal Phuket Marina, adjacent to the channel where the incident happened (video below).
Vladimir Pronin, of the Russian embassy in Thailand confirmed the collision of the two speedboats.
“Two speedboats have collided. There was only the Thai crew on board of one of them, while there were 39 Russian tourists on board of the second one. Over 20 Russians have sustained injuries of various degrees of severity.”
Mr Pronin also confirmed that as many as 21 Russians and 3 Thai nationals were taken to hospital, with several still in critical condition. 5 Russians are now reported to have been discharged from their hospitals.
Photos from the scene show the damage resulting from the collisions, indicating the high speed impact. The dramatic video also show emergency responders working with the many people wounded in the incident, including a child.
Police officers told reporters at the scene that a full investigation had begun and once investigators had fully examined both vessels, the crime scene and interviewed witnesses, they would to the hospitals to speak to the survivors from the collision.
The incident happened a year and a day after 12 Chinese tourists were injured in a similar incident in Phuket, and 18 months after 47 Chinese tourists died when a tourist boat sank off the southern coast of the island (Thailand’s worst maritime disaster). Another boat sank on the same day but all passengers and crew were recovered.
This is a developing story: The Thaiger will provide updates as details emerge.
WARNING: The following video contains content that may be distressing to some viewers.
Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.
Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.
Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.