Sunday, 3 November 2013

At least six dead, including three foreigners and 10 injured in Thailand ferry capsize

A tourist ferry has capsized in Thailand, near the beach resort city of Pattaya, Russia’s embassy in the country has confirmed to RT. At least six people have died, including two Russians, local police said.

Others killed include a Chinese citizen and three Thais, Col. Suwan Cheawnavinthavat said, according to AP. Russia’s embassy consulate in Thailand has yet to confirm that Russians are among dead.

"There is no information on the nationality of the dead. It is known that among the injured were two Russians - a woman with a child. They were taken to hospital in the city of Pattaya,” Andrey Dvornikov, head of the consular department of the Russian embassy in Thailand, said.

"Most likely there were many Russians on board,” he added.

A total of 209 people, mostly tourists, have been rescued. Some 15 have sustained severe injuries.

A 12-year-old Russian boy who was among those rescued is in intensive care in hospital. Doctors then established that he was braindead. His mother remains in stable condition. She needs surgery on her face as she suffered a deep cut.

The Russian embassy said at least three Russians had been taken to hospital.

Marines from Thailand’s Sattahip Naval Base have been deployed to search for the ship and missing passengers. The number of missing people has not been officially confirmed, but local media has reported that at least 20 are missing.

Local police have confirmed that 200 Thai and foreign tourists were on a double-decker ferry, AP reports. It was established that the ferry was operating over its capacity, police said.

The National News Bureau of Thailand indicate the 12-meter long vessel was licensed to carry up to 150 people.

As an engine problem occurred soon after the boat departed, tourists rushed to the second floor, causing the ferry to flip on its side and eventually sink, Col. Suwan Cheawnavinthavat said.

‘It was all like a scene from Titanic’

“We were on the next ferry, accidently; we simply were late on that one. It was indeed full of people,” one of the tourists, Olga Blinova told RT. She says she was hurrying her sister, her brother-in-law and her husband to make it on the ferry.

But as they saw that the boat was already crowded, they decided to take the following ferry in 15 minutes.

“We were on the lower deck of the ferry,” Olga says.

Some 15 to 20 minutes later, Olga and her family reached the scene.

“This was really terrifying! Shoes, stuff floating around,” Olga says. “My husband and other people rescued one woman. She was the last one remaining in the water.”

Another tourist, Aleksandr, was on a similar tourist ferry. He recalled that when the Captain saw the tragedy, he steered the boat towards the sunken vessel.

“Here is what I saw: Waves, a three-decker vessel, and a few smaller boats…It all remained me of the scene from Titanic – people in life jackets and without, floating stuff,” he told RT.

The ferry Aleksandr was on rescued at least 15 people, mostly Russians.

“We quickly let down the ladder into the water. People began to swim up and we were catching them and taking them to the lower deck,” he said. “Unfortunately there were casualties. We dragged out two Chinese people, a man and a woman in their 30s or 40s. We started CPR, but unsuccessfully,” Aleksandr continued.

The Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR) told ITAR-TASS news agency that official tours to the island of Koh Larn, where the sunken vessel was returning from, are very rare now. Hence, ATOR suggested that the tourists were traveling on their own. Russian tour operators have not confirmed that their clients were among the passengers, ATOR executive director Maya Lomidze said.

Sunday 03 November 2013


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