PHUKET – The search has resumed for two South Korean tourists, Mr Yuwin Wo 31, and Ms An Sun Yong, 28 missing off Thailand’s southern coast after their tour boat crashed into a fishing vessel, police said Monday (Oct 20).
A total of 40 people were injured in the collision and sent to hospitals across the island. Four Thais, seven Chinese and one Burmese were sent to Vachira Phuket Hospital. Four Thais, seven Chinese and one British victim were taken to Phuket Provincial Administrative Organization (PPAO) Hospital while another injured Briton was taken to Mission Phuket Hospital along with two Thais and two Chinese the Phuket Gazette Reported.
A Thai, two Chinese and two Australians were sent to Phuket International Hospital. Four Chinese and two Koreans were taken to Bangkok Hospital Phuket.
The accident occurred on Sunday evening when the speedboat, carrying around 40 passengers – including South Koreans, Chinese and a number of Western tourists – struck a fishing boat in the Andaman Sea between the popular islands of Phi Phi and Phuket.
“The driver of the speedboat was distracted and pulling a plastic bag from his foot when he crashed,” Colonel Pruttipong Nuchnart of Krabi police told reporters, adding he had been arrested for careless driving.
“Navy and maritime police are searching for a man and a woman from South Korea who went missing in the water after the crash,” he added.
A spokesperson for the Merchant Marine Training Centre (MMTC) in Samut Prakan, which is part of the Ministry of Transportation, said there is only one training office – the one in Samut Prakan. That office has been operating for 10 years, said the spokesperson, who declined to be named.
“All marine-related businesses must send their staff for training there before getting license by from the marine office,” said the spokesperson.
Phuket Marine Officer, Natchapong Pradit, said that boat captains have to take training courses to pilot boats over 250 tons. They must pass the courses at MMTC before they can apply for a license, he said.
But, he added, “Pilots of boats under 250 tons in weight, like the speedboat Seastar 29, do not need to go through training. However, they must have at least two years’ experience and be able to prove they are knowledgeable about the regulations,” said Mr Natchapong.
The cost of the damage has not yet been estimated. Officials from the Korean Embassy were expected to meet with local officials later today and relatives of the two missing Koreans are due to arrive in Phuket tomorrow (Oct 21).
Anyone with any information relating to the missing passengers should call 076-391598.