One dead and 16 injured as tourist boat explodes in Thailand

The speedboat was believed to have caught fire due to a fuel leak.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/KRABI PITAKPRACHA FOUNDATION

A speedboat on its way to the popular beach destination of Phi Phi Islands off the western coast of Thailand with mostly Chinese tourists on board exploded on Sunday (Jan 14), injuring 16 people.

The King Poseidon was believed to have caught fire due to a fuel leak near the Viking Cave, a limestone cave frequented by tourists at the northwestern tip of Phi Phi, after leaving the Thai Morning Sun Pier in nearby Phuket, the Phuket Gazette reported.

There were  31 people – 27 Chinese tourists, including three children, and five Thai crew members – on board at the time of the incident.

Phi Phi police told Reuters 14 tourists and two crew members were injured, adding that the authority is still investigating the cause of the explosion.

Out of the 16 injured, six are in a severe condition, according to Phi Phi hospital staff, who told Reuters seven people have been sent to hospitals in Phuket for further treatment and nine have been discharged.

Phuket Gazette had initially said one of the crew members died from burns.

The Consulate-General of China in Songkhla said five Chinese were seriously injured, the Xinhua news agency reported.

The consulate added that all the Chinese tourists were helped ashore while the rescue team searched for other survivors.

Beach resorts and islands in southern Thailand are major tourist attractions, particularly during the high season from November to March. – Reuters

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