Phuket speedboat driver tests positive for meth after crash injuring 37 tourists

Photo via KhaoSod


The man who crashed a speedboat into a channel marker in Chalong Bay in Phuket, southern Thailand – injuring 37 Thai and foreign tourists – on Wednesday tested positive for methamphetamine.

The 29 year old tour boat driver, Sathit Mardchai, underwent a blood test for alcohol and drugs following the incident, Commander of Phuket Provincial Police Pol. Maj. Gen. Sermphan Sirikong told the Phuket Express yesterday.

Sathit’s blood did not test positive for alcohol but only methamphetamine, a Category I illicit narcotic, after driving the speedboat at a high speed into the concrete pillar on Wednesday, injuring four Thais, 21 Russians, nine Kazakstanis, one Chinese, one Ukrainian, and one Hong Kong national.

Pol. Maj. Gen. Sermphan questioned 19 witnesses who all provided the same testimony that Sathit acted recklessly prior to the crash.

The boat driver was charged under Sections 300 and Sections 390 of the Criminal Code for acting negligently and causing injury to others. The crime carries a maximum punishment of three years in prison and a fine of 60,000 baht, reports KhaoSod English. Sathit will face trial at Phuket District Court.

The boat was carrying tourists from the Phi Phi islands to Phuket when the driver crashed into the channel marker about 100 meters from Chalong Pier.

Phuket Immigration assisted injured tourists by helping them to extend their visas.

The speedboat, the Thanathip Marine 555, was covered under the Medical Treatment Protection Act for 15,000 baht insurance per case.

ORIGINAL STORY: Speedboat crashes in Phuket, 37 injured

A speedboat crashed into a channel marker in Chalong Bay in Phuket, southern Thailand, yesterday injuring four Thais and 33 foreign tourists, mostly Russians.

The driver is thought to have fallen asleep as he crashed into the huge concrete pillar in the sea about 100 metres away from the shore of Chalong Bay at 5.30pm. The boat, the Thanathip Marine 555, had travelled to Phuket from the Phi Phi islands.

Four Thais, 21 Russians, nine Kazakstanis, one Chinese, one Ukrainian, and one Hong Kong national were injured.

Patients were divided in order of the seriousness of their injuries: two “white,” 13 “green,” 16 “yellow,” and 6 “red,” reports KhaoSod.

Ten patients are receiving treatment at Phuket Vachira Hospital, nine at Chalong Hospital, two at Siriroj Hospital, five at Bangkok Hospital, five at Mission Hospital, two at Dibuk Hospital, and two at Phuket Provincial Administrative Organisation Hospital. The boat is insured to cover medical expenses of up to 15,000 baht for each case.

The Phuket Provincial Tourism and Sports Office, Tourist Police, and Department of Tourism sent officials and interpreters to facilitate the needs of victims, coordinate help and contact relevant consulates and embassies where required.

Phuket Provincial Police are investigating the cause of the crash and say they have already measured the boat driver’s alcohol levels, who also sustained broken limbs in the crash, although the results were not yet reported.

Police didn’t say what speed the boat was thought to be going when it slammed into the huge concrete pillar. It sustained heavy damage.

Last month, an explosion occurred on a tourist speedboat docked at a pier in Phang Nga Bay in southern Thailand. The explosion injured two people, one of whom died at the hospital.

In February, nine Swedish tourists and a Thai boat driver were rescued when their longtail boat capsized near Hong Island in Krabi province.

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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