PHUKET – An Indian couple has reportedly drowned after their chartered long-tailed boat capsized in bad weather off southern Thailand’s popular Krabi province known for its pristine beaches, the latest incident to hit the country’s tourism industry.
Police said the two tourists were heading to a pier at the Hat Nopparat Thara-Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park after a sightseeing tour of the area when their boat ran into a heavy squall and high waves battered the craft off Ao Nang beach, overturning it.
The two, reportedly not wearing life jackets, drowned in the choppy waters and rescuers recovered their bodies after an hour.
Boat driver Ekkapong Kinglek, 25, survived after managing to cling to the boat which was later swept ashore on Ao Nang beach.
Local police officer Rittichai Wangsud said Ekkapong would be charged over the deaths and could face up to 10 years in jail, Bangkok Post said.
Meanwhile the Phuketwan has reported that, a Belgian tourist fell off a boat while traveling between Koh Tao and Koh Phangan earlier in the day, taking the today’s toll to three.
Police investigators are now trying to determine whether the man fell or was pushed and why he was not wearing a life jacket, as tourists are required by law to do.
The vessel, carrying about 30 passengers, was traveling to Koh Phangan from the smaller island of Koh Tao.
The investigation into the Belgian man’s death comes amid growing concern about the safety and security of tourists in Thailand, following the murders on Koh Tao.
A suggestion that tourists wear wristbands, made recently by the Tourism and Sports minister, probably would not have helped. A life vest, however, might have saved his life.
The deaths come as officials in the tourism industry seek to persuade visitors that Thailand remains safe following the brutal murders of British tourists on the island of Koh Tao on September 15.