PHUKET – The operator of a Thai tourist long boat, which was swamped by a huge wave killing two Indians onboard, has been charged with reckless driving causing death, police said today.
The tourists, Yash Agarwal, 27, and Pankhuri Mittal, 26, rented the longtail boat to take them from Railay to Ao Nang in southern Thailand’s popular Krabi province known for its pristine beaches yesterday evening.
They drowned when the boat was lashed by a huge wave off the coast of Railay beach, east of Phuket.
Neither of the Indian men were wearing life vests at the time of the incident.
Ekkapong Kinglek, 25, the boat operator, claimed though life vests were provided the two chose not to wear them.
He was charged with reckless driving causing death, Captain Praphan Nhuchaikaew of the Krabi City Police has said.
“They hired me to take them to Ao Nang. It was raining, but the waves weren t strong near Railay. I thought it would be safe,” said Ekkapong.
“We were about 100 meters from the shore when we were hit by a big wave,” he added.
Once the boat filled with water, I could not see them, so I decided to swim to shore to get help, he said.
Rescue workers from the Ao Nang Administration Organization and staff from nearby resorts searched in the stormy seas for an hour before they were able to find the two bodies.
It was very tough to find them because of the rough conditions, said Captain Praphan.
Ekkapong waited on the shore until police arrived. The bodies were taken to Krabi Hospital.
The Indian Embassy which was informed of the incident has informed the families of the two victims.
The Embassy will take the required steps to coordinate with the Thai authorities over the formalities involved in the release of the bodies to the families and the paperwork, the sources added.
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