PHUKET: A desperate search is continuing in darkness tonight for two Korean tourists, missing after a collision off Phuket between a speedboat and a fishing boat.
A total of 37 tourists were on the speedboat, 31 Chinese, four Koreans and two Britons, officials said just before 8pm.
Also on board were the captain, two crew members and two guides - one Chinese and one Thai - making a total of 42.
The speedboat - named as the Sea Star - was returning to the pier at Boat Lagoon, a popular departure spot, after a day-trip to Phi Phi island when the collision with the larger vessel took place about 5.30pm.
Two people are missing. Those with serious injuries include one person with a serious smashed knee. Others suffered head injuries.
Those injured were listed as 27 tourists, two guides and three crew. Eight people escaped injury.
Phuket Marine Police and Phang Nga Rescue were scouring the waters, about four miles off Phuket, for the two missing Koreans tonight.
Kusoldharm Phuket Foundation paramedics were also called in.
A Chinese consular official told Phuketwan that tourists had notified the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the incident and that they were aware that at least two Chinese tourists had been admitted to hospital on Phuket.
There were no details as yet about precisely what had happened, the official said.
A large crowd gathered at the Rassada pier in Phuket City, with paramedics and ambulances treating and transferring injured speedboat passengers to hospitals.
As soon as injured began arriving, they were treated at the dock then taken swiftly to Phuket City facilities.
It's not known as yet whether the tourists were wearing flotation vests, which are compulsory.
Officials in Thailand's tourism industry have been anxious since the September 15 murders of British tourists Hannah Witheridge and David Miller on Koh Tao to project Thailand's islands as safe places.
Indian tourists Yash Agarwal, 26, and Pankhuri Mittal, 25, drowned when a longtail boat overturned on the short trip between Railey and Ao Nang in Krabi, Phuket's neighboring province, earlier this month.
They were not wearing life vests. A boatman who survived and swam to shore faces 10 years in jail.
Phuket's high season begins on November 1 and the Asian Beach Games are due to be held on the holiday island from November 14-23.