Published: 28/06/2010 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: News
SURAT THANI : At least 40 people have been injured in a head-on collision between two speedboats carrying tourists taking part in a full-moon party on Koh Pha-ngan.
A passenger is helped after two speedboats collided between Koh Pha-ngan and Koh Samui in Surat Thani early yesterday. Many of those injured, including foreigners, were heading to or returning from a fullmoonparty on Koh Pha-ngan. SUPAPONG CHAOLAN
The collision happened about 12.30am yesterday in waters between Koh Samui and Koh Pha-ngan.
The force of the impact severely damaged the two speedboats and threw passengers into the water.
They were left stranded in the sea before being rescued by marine police and passing speedboats. There was heavy rain and strong winds when the accident happened.
Twenty-nine injured passengers were sent to Bangkok Hospital Samui, six were admitted to Ban Don International Hospital on Koh Samui and five to Thai International Hospital Koh Samui.
Ten foreigners _ three Britons, five Australians, one Ukrainian and one Singaporean _ were among the injured.
One speedboat, Phummipat 59, was carrying 23 tourists who were returning from a full-moon party on Koh Pha-ngan to Koh Samui.
It collided with another speedboat, Sawasdi Chalermchoke Nawa5, which was taking 39 passengers from Koh Samui to Koh Pha-ngan. The Sawasdi Chalerm choke Nawa5 is owned by Sea Beach Tour and Transport Co.
Preecha Chorsuwannachart, a passenger on board the Sawasdi Chalermchoke Nawa5, said the boat travelled at high speed and did not have its signal lights switched on.
Mr Preecha, who is a member of the Nonthaburi provincial administration organisation, said the boat collided with the other boat, throwing passengers into the sea.
Weeraphan Phetchara, who was driving the Phummipat 59, said he did not see the signal lights of the other boat before the collision.
Thuenjai Phetcharat, who runs Phetcharat Marina Co which owns the Phummipat 59, said the company has accident insurance to cover passengers. They will each receive 100,000 baht.
She said she is willing to bring the driver of the Phummipat 59 to police for questioning.
Police said the licence for the Sawasdi Chalermchoke Nawa 5 has expired and not been renewed and it also has no insurance documents.
The Sawasdi Chalermchoke Nawa 5 capsized on Jan 25, 2005, while taking tourists from a full-moon party on Koh Pha-ngan. Fifteen passengers drowned in the accident. Police said the boat sank because it was overloaded.
*Bron: Bangkok Post / www.bangkokpost.com *