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Phuket officials question speedboat driver for “reckless driving”

PHOTO: Bangkok Biz News

A speedboat driver is being questioned for allegedly “driving recklessly in dangerous conditions”, putting the lives of his passengers at risk. The Phuket News reports that the issue concerns two speedboats as they were returning to Phuket from a trip to Koh Phi Phi on Tuesday, August 1.

Conditions were rough on Phang Nga Bay with choppy waves up to 2 metres in height.

The first boat, identified as the Natthicha 555, was returning to Rassada and carrying 11 people, 8 of whom were passengers. The driver has been named as 25 year old Chiratheep Pramongkit and also on board was the boat’s mechanic, 32 year old Pichet Pramongkit.

A video posted online shows the boat charging through big waves at speed, then rapidly changing direction as if playing “chase” with the other speedboat. In the clip, tourists can be seen onboard, not wearing life jackets.

The video was filmed around 2.30pm, when waves were up to 3 metres in height, according to the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department.

The second boat, identified as the TSK 6, was returning to AA Pier at Laem Nga, on Koh Siray, east of Phuket Town. It was carrying 42 tourists, along with 2 tour guides and 3 crew members.

The driver has been named as 31 year old Rewut Phutthawong, who was accompanied by 48 year old mechanic, Khwanchai Pramongkit.

After the video was posted online, Phuket Marine Office Chief Nachaphong Pranit ordered an investigation. However, the Phuket News points out that despite there being clear evidence of dangerous driving, officials have yet to confirm if any charges will be brought against either driver.

Officials have confirmed that both speedboats were seaworthy and all safety equipment on both vessels was found to be in working order. They have also confirmed that the boat operators are being investigated under Section 291 of the Navigation in Thai Waters Act.

The names of any tour companies associated with the vessels have not been disclosed.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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