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30 tourists injured, 1 missing after Phuket speedboat crashes into pillar in Chalong

PHOTO: Thai Rath

Thirty tourists, most of them Russian, have been injured after the tour boat they were travelling on crashed into a concrete pillar/navigation marker approaching Chalong Pier in the south of Phuket. According to a number of media reports, one person is still missing following the incident which happened at around 5.30pm yesterday, May 17.

There were over 33 people on board when the Thanathip Marine speedboat hit a channel marker in Chalong Bay as it was bringing tourists back from a trip to the Phi Phi islands (about a 45 minute journey). Provincial marine chief Nachapong Pranit says that in addition to the tourists and the boat driver, the driver’s assistant and a tour guide were also on board.

PHOTO: KomChadLuek

According to a Bangkok Post report, around 10 people sustained broken limbs, including the boat driver. At least 2 passengers were reported to be seriously injured. Emergency workers and over a dozen ambulances arrived at Chalong Pier to transport the injured to several hospitals on the island.

Initial reports seem to indicate that the boat driver, named as Sathit Matchai, may have fallen asleep and driven the boat into the channel marker, which was around 700 metres from the pier. The speedboat was badly damaged in the collision and clearly impacted the concrete pillar at high speed.

A search is underway for one passenger still missing.

SOURCE: The Phuket Express | Bangkok Post

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