China takes measures to help nationals injured in speedboat explosion in Thailand

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

BEIJING - China’s tourism authority said on Sunday (Jan 14) it has initiated an emergency plan to help Chinese nationals injured in a speedboat explosion in Thailand, reported Xinhua news agency. 

The China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) has urged local hospitals to spare no effort in treating the injured. 

It has also asked Thai police to find out the cause of the accident as soon as possible, according to CNTA head Li Jinzao.

The speedboat was on its way to the popular beach destination of Phi Phi Islands off the western coast of Thailand  when it exploded on Sunday, injuring 16 people - 14 Chinese passengers and two Thai crew members. 

Phi Phi hospital staff said nine of those injured have been discharged.

Colonel Boontawee Toraksa, deputy commander of Krabi police, said on Monday (Jan 15) that no one died from the accident, reported Khaosod English news website. Some reports had initially said one of the crew members died from burns.

Boat operator Kriangkrai Boonsri, 28, suffered severe burns and was undergoing treatment in a hospital’s intensive care unit on Monday, the report said.

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.

The Consulate-General of China in Songkhla said five Chinese tourists 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.

A representative of Apple Tours which chartered the boat, Manassanan Mahima, said each injured victim would be eligible for up to 500,000 baht (S$ 20, 750) in compensation from insurance, reported The Nation newspaper.

"We will take care of victims... In the event of death, the compensation is 1 million baht,” she added.

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