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HOME // National News // Two people still missing after two sinkings in the Gulf, and one off Khao Lak

Two people still missing after two sinkings in the Gulf, and one off Khao Lak

In a recent incident off the shores of Pattaya, a tourist boat named Sea Beach capsized on Saturday evening, leaving 27 foreign tourists stranded, floating in the Gulf of Thailand.

The rescue operation, led by Port Authority officials and tourist police, was able to located the stricken vessel and the tourists, and successfully brought the group, including three crew members, back to shore. The incident, occurring around 6 pm, was a result of the boat encountering strong waves, causing it to capsize suddenly.

Most of the rescued Russian tourists sustained injuries, with signs of shock and distress. Initial medical treatment was provided onshore, and five tourists were subsequently transferred to hospitals for further care.

UPDATE to the story HERE.

The boat captain reported that the morning trip had taken approximately 30 Russian tourists to Koh Larn for activities, and the evening return was disrupted by the sudden strong waves, leading to the passengers falling into the sea.

The “Sea Beach” catamaran, designed for about 40 passengers, was unable to withstand the prevailing conditions.

Authorities had issued a red flag warning earlier in the day, advising against small boats leaving Pattaya due to rough seas. The police have taken the boat captain and owner in for questioning and legal proceedings. Although there were no casualties, authorities emphasise the importance of awareness, especially among tour boat operators, regarding red flag warnings, which effectively restrict small boats from departing.

“Cooperation and compliance with safety measures were urged to ensure the well-being of tourists and property.”

Meanwhile, on the Andaman coast in the Phang Nga province, two people remain missing following another marine incident.

A scuba-diving boat named Sawan Tour capsized around 11 pm on Friday due to strong winds. The boat, which had picked up 18 tourists from Thap Lamu Pier, servicing visitors to Khao Lak, sank near Ko Torinla island in the Surin Islands National Park.

As of the latest update, 16 passengers have been rescued and taken to Khura Buri Pier, while two individuals – a cook on the boat and a British tourist – are still missing.

The Thai Maritime Office Centre reported that a search operation, employing inflatable boats and a helicopter, has been initiated to locate the missing individuals. Officials believe the strong currents might have carried them up to 11 kilometres away from the incident site.

Earlier, on Friday morning, the T. Sandee Maneesap 111 ferry, en route to the popular diving destination Koh Tao, sank after being battered by 3 metre high waves in the Kong Hin Tung Ku area. The vessel, weighing around 115 tonnes, was unable to cope with the waves approximately 4 nautical miles off the Koh Tao shore.

Kok Tao is part of a trio of popular islands – including Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan – off the Chumpon and Surat Thani coast in the Gulf of Thailand.

Authorities at the Koh Tao rescue radio center were alerted at 8 am, reporting that seawater had breached the ferry, damaging its water pumps. The ferry, carrying around 70 passengers, primarily foreign tourists, and crew, waited as the  rescue operations swung into action.

Speedboats and other vessels, manned by rescue workers and police, reached the distressed ferry by 9:10 am. They successfully evacuated the passengers and crew, transferring them to two other boats that safely transported them to the Koh Tao pier.

The T. Sandee Maneesap 111 eventually sank around 10:30 am.

PHOTO: Supapong Chaolan

Owned by Paithoon Khongchan, the ferry headed out from the Surat Thani municipal pier at 11 pm on Thursday, with a scheduled arrival at Koh Tao by 5 am on Friday.

Responding to the incident, the navy’s Second Fleet dispatched the Tor 112 patrol boat to assess the scene, searching for the belongings of the passengers. Navy divers are now preparing to examine the sunken ferry as part of the ongoing investigation.

Preliminary findings indicate that the number of passengers on board did not exceed the recommended limit.

The Meteorological Department had previously issued warnings about strong winds, high waves in the Gulf of Thailand, and heavy to very heavy rain along the eastern coast of the southern region from Friday through Tuesday. Small boats had been advised to stay ashore during this period.

 

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