THAILAND

Hong Kong tourist among six dead after Thai ferry 'with not enough life vests' sinks

Not enough tubes or life vests on ferry, according to witnesses

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 November, 2013, 1:04am
UPDATED : Monday, 04 November, 2013, 12:27pm
AP

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A tourist from Hong Kong was one of six people who died when an overcrowded ferry capsized and sank near a popular Thai resort yesterday.

Another Hongkonger was injured, according to an official from the Chinese embassy in Thailand, Xinhua reported. A tourist from Guangdong was also injured.

Hong Kong's Immigration Department said it was trying to find out more from the embassy.

The double-decker ferry, carrying about 200 Thai and foreign tourists, left Lan island for the 30-minute trip to Pattaya in the evening, said police colonel Suwan Cheawnavinthavat.

Witnesses said there were neither enough tubes nor life vests on the ferry. Some who cannot swim had to cling onto coolers or ice containers until rescuers came
Police colonel Suwan Cheawnavinthavat

Shortly after the boat departed, an engine problem sent the passengers on the first deck rushing to the second floor, causing the ferry to flip on its side and eventually sink.

"Witnesses said there were neither enough tubes nor life vests on the ferry. Some who cannot swim had to cling onto coolers or ice containers until rescuers came," Suwan said.

He said the foreigners who died were a Russian man, a Russian woman and a Chinese man. Three Thais - two women and a man - were also killed. The rest of the passengers were rescued, including a 12-year-old Russian boy who was in intensive care at a hospital.

Suwan said the ferry was operating over its capacity of about 130 to 150 passengers.

Pattaya, which is about 100 kilometres southeast of Bangkok, has had several fatal boat accidents this year. Last month an Indian tourist celebrating her wedding anniversary was killed in a parasailing accident off the town's coast. In August, two Chinese tourists were killed in a speed boat accident.