4 Russians and 2 Thais being treated for injuries sustained when speedboat struck channel marker
Six people — four Russians and two Thais — remain in critical but stable condition after a boat carrying 37 people hit a channel marker in Chalong Bay in Phuket on Wednesday evening.
The accident occurred when the Thanathip Marine 555 was bringing foreign tourists — 21 Russians, nine Kazakhs and one each from Hong Kong, China and Ukraine — back from the Phi Phi Islands to Chalong Bay at about 5.30pm. The Thais onboard were the driver, two assistants and a tour guide.
The boat smashed into the channel marker about 700 metres from the Chalong pier and sustained heavy damage. About 10 people, including the boat driver, suffered broken limbs. The injured were taken to seven different hospitals on the island.
Dr Weerasak Lorthongkam, director of Vachira Phuket Hospital, said on Thursday that the four Russians and two Thais were in critical but stable condition.
Of the four, two had been transferred from Chalong Hospital for treatment at Vachira Phuket Hospital, while the other two were being treated in Bangkok Hospital Phuket, he said.
In response to the accident, authorities are considering tighter screening protocols for drivers, including for illicit substances, to prevent such incidents from occurring again, he said.
Strict rules will also be put in place to require lists of passengers and crewmen, said Dr Weerasak, adding that every boat must insure its passengers.
“Luckily, no one drowned or fell off the boat,” he said, noting that the craft was insured. “Life jackets are necessary to prevent loss of life.”
Nachapong Pranit, chief of the provincial marine department, said the boat was taken after the incident to the Koktanod area in tambon Chalong for a closer inspection by Chalong police and related agencies.
He said the office would question the boat’s mechanic and other individuals involved.
The captain will also be summoned for questioning as soon as his condition improves, he added.
Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Nachapong instructed officials to assess the damage to the channel marker.
Due to the incident, the provincial marine office invoked Section 170 of Navigation in Thai Waters Act 1913 to suspend the operation of the boat, he said, adding that it must undergo a complete safety check before it can resume operating again.