BANGKOK • Two Chinese tourists were killed in Thailand yesterday when a pair of speedboats rammed into each other, police said. It was the second fatal boating accident involving tourists in less than two weeks.
Tourism is a key source of revenue for Thailand, but accidents involving travellers are common in the country, where safety regulations are often weakly enforced.
Investigators said three other Chinese nationals were in critical condition following the collision near Phi Phi island, one of southern Thailand's most popular beach destinations. One boat was carrying 36 Chinese tourists, including two children, while the other had 26 passengers, of whom 22 were Chinese tourists.
The crash took place around 2pm in stormy weather.
"Two Chinese tourists died, one man and one woman, while 20 sustained injuries, three of whom are in critical condition," said Lieutenant Prasert Srikhunrat, deputy commander of Phuket Marine Police. Both boats were heading towards Koh Phi Phi, he told AFP.
On May 26, four foreign tourists died when the speedboat in which they were travelling flipped over in rough seas off Koh Samui. Police charged the captain of that boat with negligence.
On Sunday, 28 people were injured when a speedboat carrying passengers back from an evening music concert on Koh Samet smashed into a container ship.
Thailand's reputation as the "Land of Smiles" has suffered in recent years amid frequent deadly bus and boat accidents, crimes against foreigners and political unrest.
But visitors keep coming. A record high of nearly 30 million travelled to the kingdom last year, a number boosted by a surge in Chinese tourists.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, XINHUA