11 July 2024

Twenty-one Chinese tourists escaped unhurt but two suffered inhaling sea water after a speed boat in which they were travelling hit a submerged reef and sank in the sea near Koh Samet off the coast of Thailand’s eastern province of Rayong today.

Rayong provincial police said the Chinese tourist group, which included some children, spent Wednesday night at a resort on the island and today they were taken for a trip around the island on board a speed boat.

When the boat hit the rocks, the boat driver, identified as Mr. Natthawut Poengkuson, told the tourists to put on their life vests before the vessel capsized.

Fortunately, another speed boat was cruising nearby and saw the incident. It rushed to the rescue of the Chinese tourists who were already floating in the sea.  All were plucked from the water safely but two of them suffered the effects of water inhalation and were later sent to the provincial hospital for treatment.

The boat driver and the boat owner were later summoned to the Muang district police station for questioning.

In July last year, a double-decker cruise ship, Phoenix, capsized in rough seas off Phuket, resulting in the death of 46 Chinese tourists with three missing.  The tragedy, described as one of the worst sea accidents in Thailand, prompted Chinese tour operators and tourists to boycott visits to Thailand for several months before the number of tourists from China started to recover.