Tourist boat explodes off Phi Phi, injuring 16

Phi Phi hospital staff said six of the 16 injured are in a serious condition. The speedboat (left) is believed to have caught fire after springing a fuel leak.
Phi Phi hospital staff said six of the 16 injured are in a serious condition. The speedboat (above) is believed to have caught fire after springing a fuel leak.PHOTOS: TWITTER/RICHARD BARRO, KRABI MARINE POLICE
Phi Phi hospital staff said six of the 16 injured are in a serious condition. The speedboat (left) is believed to have caught fire after springing a fuel leak.
Phi Phi hospital staff said six of the 16 injured are in a serious condition. The speedboat is believed to have caught fire after springing a fuel leak.PHOTOS: TWITTER/RICHARD BARRO, KRABI MARINE POLICE

BANGKOK - A speedboat on its way to the popular Phi Phi Islands beach destination off the western coast of Thailand, with mostly Chinese tourists on board, exploded yesterday, injuring 16 people.

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

There were 31 people - 26 Chinese tourists, including three children, and five Thai crew members - on board at the time of the incident.

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

Of the 16 injured, six are in a serious condition, said 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 initially said one crew member died from burns.

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

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

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 15, 2018, with the headline 'Tourist boat explodes off Phi Phi, injuring 16'. Print Edition | Subscribe