PHUKET: Russian tourists Nikolai Nefedov and his wife are on their way home from Phuket, leaving behind some unanswered questions about how Phuket cares for tourists in trouble.
The couple are expected to board a flight heading for Ekaterinburg, in the Ural mountains, from Bangkok on Monday, with Mr Nefedov still requiring further treatment to heal the leg that was badly injured last week when he was struck by a speedboat propeller as he swam off Kata beach.
The couple's children, Ilya and Natalia, wrote to Phuketwan and Phuket's other English-language media, and remain concerned that the case was never really resolved.
The driver of speedboat 18 appears to have escaped paying compensation or even a reprimand for steering his wayward vessel into a group of Phuket swimmers in shallow water, seriously injuring one of them.
What happens next? ''The insurance company will send its own medical person from Moscow,'' the children wrote to Phuketwan from Russia.
''Our mom is planning to take the same plane as our dad, she's been told that they would buy her a ticket on the same plane, and she would have to pay for it herself.''
Acting on the advice of Phuketwan, Mrs Nefedov went to lodge a complaint with Phuket police.
''After writing a complaint to the police department, according to the words of our mom, she was told to bring the driver of the speedboat that hit our dad,'' wrote the children.
''Very weird request, isnt it? So it means that they even don't want to investigate the case.''
Police at Chalong in southern Phuket, which oversees Kata and several other well-known beaches, have a spreading reputation for finding excuses to not investigate complaints involving tourists or expat residents.
Similar lack of interest was expressed by Phuripat Theerakulpisut, Chief of Phuket's Marine Office 5, which oversees speedboats and jet-skis on Phuket. Khun Phuripat told Phuketwan that incidents of this kind were ''natural'' and did not warrant his intervention.
Left in limbo by the distressing affair is Phuket International Hospital, where there's an unpaid bill for the initial emergency treatment for Mr Nefedov.
When the hospital discovered that the couple's holiday insurance policy involved only one hospital, Vachira Phuket in Phuket City, nurses had no choice but to transfer him there immediately.
The issue of Russian travel insurance firms specifying which hospitals can treat their customers is likely to cause widespread concern among all Phuket hospitals, especially Vachira Phuket, Phuket's largest public hospital.
If all Russian tour visitors have to be treated at Vachira Phuket, Phuket's public hospital with the largest number of patients - and the lowest costs - is likely to be stressed beyond its already-stressed capacity.
Among the questions that remain unanswered are: who pays the unpaid bill for emergency treatment at Phuket International Hospital? Who pays for Mrs Nefedov's flight home with her husband?
We can tell you who won't be paying, and who shows no interest in who does pay: the cowboy driver of speedboat 18 at Kata beach, Khun Phuripat from Marine Office 5, and the police at Phuket's Chalong station.
''Local authorites really have to take any action to make sure similar accidents do not happen no more on Phuket island,'' the couple's children wrote.
Given the mess left behind for the entire Phuket tourism industry by lack of action in this case, Phuketwan couldn't agree more.
The one positive coming from this incident is that the lack of responsibility taken by the driver and the authorities involved has ended forever any debate about whether the speedboats and the jet-skis should be allowed to continue to operate on Phuket's beaches.
The only choice now is whether they are banned entirely from Phuket, as they already are in the neighboring provinces of Krabi and Phang Nga, or whether a compromise should enable them to operate more safely from offshore pontoons.