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Samui Crash: Survivor Tells of Nightmare in Water

Sunday, June 27, 2010
UPDATE

MARINE safety chief Prawet Supachai confirmed today that one of the boats that collided at the weekend was the same vessel involved in a 2005 sinking in which 15 tourists died.

Original Report

A SURVIVOR of the tourist speedboat collision in between the holiday islands of Samui and Phangnan told today of the nightmare of being thrown into the water in the dark.

Prawet Supachai, ironically the man responsible for marine safety in the Samui region, told Phuketwan by telephone from his hospital bed: ''Last night I went to check what happens at a full moon party on Phangnan.

''On the way back to Samui, with 23 passengers on our boat, another boat collided with our boat.

''I heard someone shout in Thai 'Be careful, another boat is coming!' Then there was the shock of an impact, and we were all in the water.''

People were yelling for help. It was about 11.10pm, he said.

More than 30 people, a mixture of Thais and expat tourists, are now in local hospitals, with two people unaccounted for, and two expat tourists in a serious condition.

''The other boat, going from Samui to join the Phangnan full moon party, contained 39 people,'' he said. ''Everybody in both boats was wearing life jackets,'' he said.

''That's part of my job, to ensure safety at sea. I can tell you now that we think everyone is alive, thanks to wearing life jackets.''

Luckily, he said, other passing boats going to and from the full moon party were quick to stop and pick up the injured from the waters of the Gulf of Thailand.

Khun Prawet said he bobbed in the water, listening to others cry for help, for about 10 minutes.

''It was not long before official rescuers were on the scene,'' he said.

Khun Prawet, officially Director of Marine Office 4 (Samui), was being treated in Bandon Hospital on Samui for head injuries, but he was also keen to work and was checking the number of injured, listing nationalities.

Britons, Australians and Singaporeans are said to be among the injured.

Khun Prawet said he was absolutely certain there was no rain at the time of the crash, although there had been a downpour earlier in the evening.

''I don't know about lights on the boats,'' he said. ''It is something we will have to check.'' The boat was not overloaded, he said. It had the capacity to carry up to 40 passengers.

He said he was fortunate to be at the rear of the speedboat, rather than up-front, where the impact was greatest.

He added that he now realised that water safety advice telling people to call an emergency number for help was irrelevant when everyone was thrown into the water.

Thailand's Minister of Transport went from Bangkok to Samui today, to oversee the aftermath of the collision and an investigation, Khun Prawet said.
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Comments

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He is responsible for marine safety but does not know if the lights were on? OMG!

What are his qualifications?
Terrible news.

Posted by Vfaye on June 27, 2010 13:05

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?everybody was wearing life jackets?!!!

Posted by mel on June 27, 2010 15:17

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Vfaye,

How do you want him to know if the other boat had navigation lights on?

Posted by southbound on June 27, 2010 18:08

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As a licenced captain, I would like to know, did the boat owners have a Tourism Authority of Thailand, ( TAT ) licence as well as the Compulsory Passenger Insurance that one needs operate any boat in the Andaman region ? Or does that only apply to farang operators ?
" Prawet Supachai, ironically the man responsible for marine safety in the Samui region. " Now there is a big contradiction in terms here, marine safety. Not bldy likely. Safety is not a priority anywhere here. This is not the first nor last time these types of accidents will happen.
Bad just bad.

Posted by Robin on June 27, 2010 18:55

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A note to the editor. An expatriate is someone who has taken up full-time residence in a foreign (to them) country. Describing someone as an expat tourist is contradictory. The people in this story are most likely not residing in Thailand and touring that particular full moon party. You don't seem to have a problem with the word farang, so why not just go with that?

Editor: We probably should have used the word 'overseas' or 'international' tourist. Our mistake. In this collision, we understand Thai tourists, Europeans and Asians were among the injured, so 'farang' would be inaccurate. We are an English-language site so our preference is for English unless there's a direct quote from someone where the word 'farang' is of special significance.

Posted by Day on June 28, 2010 12:21

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They would have been wearing flotation aids not life jackets. Life Jackets support the body and neck and self right the body if unconscious.

Posted by Michael on June 28, 2010 15:39

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Why not simply use ,
" Thai and foreign tourists" - citizens from another country, to cover all --- er, foreign subjects in the article.
I certainly prefer it to the slang
"Farang", rudely denoting Caucasian ethnicity.
For example, the bank worker has to scream out across the room to other staff when I'm inquiring about something,

" The Farang wants to know..." especially when my name is right in front of her in my passbook.

RUDE !!

Posted by Horse Doctor on June 29, 2010 11:54

Editor Comment:

We've explained our rationale for preferring expat to foreign, and most expats don't share your concern at the use of the word farang. It's probably used to avoid any embarrassment in mispronouncing your name. The fact it is used widely and sometimes loudly is an indication that there's no rudeness attached.


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