PHUKET: A speed boat carrying Chinese tourists from Koh Lone to Chalong Pier took on water yesterday morning and sank about 500 meters from Chalong Pier.
A passing longtail boat safely transferred the 16 passengers and three boat crew members from the speedboat to the pier.
The speed boat Alisa 2
was nearing Chalong at about 8am when the boat crew noticed that they were taking on water at the back of the boat.
“They shouted to inform everyone on the boat about what was happening and also shouted to a man in a longtail boat nearby for help,” said Captain Wichan Sripat, 32, who immediately notified Marine Police of the crisis.
The 60-year-old longtail boat driver, Areed Yuenyong, said he was headed to Chalong Pier with his brother when he heard the shouts for help.
“When I arrived at the boat, I saw the tourists panicking,” he said. “All the tourists and boat crew got into my boat and we took them to the pier.”
By the time Marine Police arrived, Mr Areed had everyone safely on board, said Marine Police Inspector Chatchai Sakdee.
“The speedboat was almost completely submerged in the water by that time. We could see only the front of the boat.”
Marine Police are investigating the cause of the sinking, Col Chatchai said.
“We are stern in telling boat drivers to check their boats before going out. It’s necessary in order to prevent marine accidents,” he said.