PHUKET – Thirteen terrified passengers were forced to hurl themselves into the sea as their tourist boat sank within minutes off the coast of the Similan Islands Thailand.
It took only minutes for the dive boat, named Aladdin, to sink as the passengers screamed for their lives.
Some of the 13 holiday makers were dragged under the boat, as other tourists in a second boat came to their rescue.
Swedish diver 46-year-old Dennis Karlsson, who was on board the Peter Pan rescue craft, managed to capture the terrifying moments the passengers swam for their lives on video.
He said: “It was really, really serious. The boat took on a lot of water.
“People threw themselves headlong into the water.
“Some were sucked under the water with the boat before they resurfaced and were pulled out. It was really amazing that everyone survived.”
The Director of the Similan islands national park, Nat Kongkasem, said that both the islands were part of the national park, but that the Aladdin sank between the islands in a location that was not part of the national park. “The vessel operates out of Ranong,” he said. ”It was not registered to operate in the national park and the hull was clearly of poor quality,” he told Phuketwan.
The incident came barely three months after six tourists died when an overcrowded ferry capsized and sank off the Thai coast.
The double-decker ferry, carrying around 200 people, had an engine problem which caused the ferry to flip on its side and sink in November.
The vessel had only been licensed to carry up to 150 passengers.
Among the dead were three Thais – two women and a man – a Russian man, a Russian woman and a Chinese man.